Fire breaks out at under-construction Navy warship, one worker dead

Fire on board INS Visakhapatnam destroyer at Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL) Mumbai. Photo: Twitter

A fire broke out at an under-construction warship of the Navy at Mazgaon Dockyard here on Friday evening in which one worker was killed and another injured, an official said.

A Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders (MDSL) spokesperson, in a statement said “a broke out in yard 12704 in the dock in south Mumbai at 4 pm, in which a contractual worker died due to asphyxia and burn injuries. Another worker has suffered injuries,” the statement said.

Twenty-three-year-old Bajendra Kumar was rushed to nearby JJ Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival, fire brigade sources said. The identity of the injured is not immediately known.

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Fire brigade sources said they received a call about the fire at 5.57 pm and it was classified as Level three, which indicated it was serious.

The stealth guided missile destroyer ‘Visakhapatnam’ is being built in the yard and is the first of the four such ships under the ₹29,340 crore ‘Project 15-B’ contracted to MDSL.

The dock, which dates back to the 18th century, is among the foremost in vessel building for the Indian Navy and has also been contracted to build the Scorpene submarines.

MDSL spokesperson said the fire was brought under control by 7 pm, while fire brigade officials said “operations were on as of 9.45 pm, adding there is thick smoke and heat in the affected area.”

Earlier, the chief of city fire brigade, P S Rahangdale had said the blaze erupted on the second deck of the ship and was confined to the second and third decks.

Eight fire-fighting engines, along with quick-response vehicle, were pressed into service.
The dock spokesperson said an enquiry has been constituted to ascertain the cause of the fire.

Construction on ‘Visakhapatnam’ the new class of stealth destroyers under the Project 15-B, started in April 2015 and the first of the destroyers is scheduled to be commissioned by 2021.

No senior dock official was immediately reachable to comment on the impact of the fire on the delivery schedule.

The last reported accident at the dock was in March 2018, when Commander Kuntal Wadhwa of the Indian Navy lost his life due to a suspected gas leak while INS Kolkata was being built. It also left several workers injured.

The dock was looking to raise over ₹500 crore from an Initial Public Offering last year but choppy market conditions are deemed to have impeded the government move.

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