Two die in blast at Chennai petroleum plant


Chennai : Two workers died and two were severely burnt when a container they were cleaning at the state-run Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) facility blew up, CPCL Director S. Chandrasekaran said Sunday.

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The accident occurred Saturday during routine cleaning of a tanker, Chandrasekaran told the media here.

The injured have been taken to the government Stanley Medical College Hospital.

The crude oil imported by CPCL is stored in huge tankers. Each tanker has about 100 buoys.

The cleaning of the buoys was being done by a contractor, R.K. Electronics Company. Four labourers had taken the buoys out on a nearby bund (high ground) and were cleaning them when they found that one had cracked.

“Two of the workers used a welding machine to try and weld the crack in the buoy. The buoy went up in flames,” the official said, adding that CPCL has instituted a high-level committee to investigate the cause of the fire.

This is the second time in less than two months that CPCL’s safety record has been broken.

On Dec 4 and 5, gas leak from the plant during another cleaning process released into the *atmosphere at least 26 toxic volatile organic chemicals and sulphur gases, including carcinogenic benzene and bromo methane.

The CPCL facility is situated in Manali, north of Chennai and the neighbourhood, is home to some of the poorest communities and migrant labour. The men who died on Saturday’s accident were also migrant casual workers from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.