In a preliminary probe undertaken by forensic experts, it is confirmed that the cause for the Kochi shipyard explosion was a leak in Acetylene gas which is used for welding and cutting.
â€śWeâ€™ve received the medical report from the hospital where autopsy of the dead was conducted. All of them died inhaling toxic gas. There are possibilities of the formation of only two gases -- acetylene and oxygen during the ship repair work. Only acetylene turns into poisonous gas on burning. This confirms our initial suspicionâ€ť, said department director P. Pramod.
The officials are now probing why the gas leak was not detected by the workers in the shipyard.
â€śWeâ€™ll find out whether there was any negligence in following the standard safety practices on the day. The report which will include this angle will be filed in five days,â€ť the official said.
The preliminary investigation suggested that the gas supplied through hoses for cutting and welding purposes had leaked and the gas was trapped in the air which later led to the high impact blast.
â€śWe are yet to get the forensic analysis report. Our preliminary investigation led us to acetylene gas leak as the reason. We will refer to the report as soon as it is made available and give the exact cause,â€ť said Thrikkakara ACP PP Shams.
Official sources have also pointed to a delay by the Cochin Shipyard Ltd in informing the incident to the police.
â€śThe department was alerted about the accident only around 10.30 am, about an hour after the accident, when the victims were taken to the hospital,â€ť police officials said.
Fire and Rescue department officials said that they got to know of the incident from news channels.
â€śBy the time we reached the spot, the rescue operations were already over and the casualties were taken out. However, a report will soon be submitted to the Director General based on an independent evaluation of the various factors and the damages sustained,â€™â€™ said Dileepan, Divisional Fire Officer.
The explosion occurred at around 9.45 am on Tuesday when workers were engaged in welding inside the water ballast.
The tanker ship was dry-docked at the Cochin Shipyard for a month for repairs and maintenance.
Five people died and 13 were injured in the blast. All the dead are from Kerala.