Posted on February 16, 2018 by Ashleigh Cowie

A gas leak was reported on board a drillship in India but response times were too slow to stop an explosion that killed 5 people.

On Tuesday ARX reported that an explosion had killed 5 workers onboard Sagar Bhushan as she was docked in India’s Cochin Shipyard.

The ONGC ship had been dry docked at the yard for two-months as she underwent repairs but the order to stop the hot works on the rig came too late resulting in an explosion in a ballast tank.

ONGC stated that the drillship was undergoing mandatory special survey (hull & machinery) repairs as per class requirement.

In a statement issued later on Tuesday, the shipyard confirmed that five people had been killed and seven injured as a result of the incident.


The yard released information after the incident reporting a phone call that was received at the shipyard at 0915am on the Tuesday morning informing the team that there was a gas leak near the air conditioning compartment. This is the area that was undergoing repair in the dry dock.

The company claim that immediate instruction was passed on to stop all the hot works. However, this was too late to stop the explosion.

An ambulance and fire team were deployed to the ship and a fire officer onboard the ship immediately started the fire fighting procedure.

Two firemen with BA sets rushed in to the smoke-filled area and began rescue operations. While others continued fire fighting from the forward hatch and reached the incident location.

In a separate statement on Wednesday, the shipyard said that Shri P Radhakrishnan, the Minister of State for shipping visited Cochin Shipyard to take stock of the situation on board the drillship Sagar Bhushan.

The minister promised full support from the Ministry of Shipping in the company’s endeavors to help the families of the affected workers. He also instructed the shipyard to conduct a thorough investigation and find out the root cause and report the details to the ministry.


  • The ship arrived at Cochin shipyard on the 7th December last year for repairs.
  • She was then dry-docked on 12th January 2018.
  • She was due to be undocked following repairs on the 28th February.
  • The final completion date was scheduled for the 7th April this year.

Posted in Safety

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