The deadly fire at Gadani Ship-breaking yard was finally extinguished, but the rescuers still cannot board the tanker Aced, as the steel is too hot. The confirmed death toll reached 21 people, but dozens of workers are still missing. The firefighters needed four days to put the fire under control and finally extinguish the flames. During the first explosions on board of the tanker there were 200 people, working on decommissioning of the vessel, but many of them succeeded to escape from the fire. More than 60 people were injured, but it was expected to have much more trapped inside the vessel. The local authorities and rescuers were unable to reach them due to high temperature and continuing explosions of fuel and gas tanks.
Now the fire is completely extinguished and according to the current estimates the rescuers will be able to board the tanker after 24 hours. The steel is too hot from the continuing fire and firefighters are unable to reach the ship.
The deadly disaster has led to calls for ban of ship-breaking operations at Gadani yard. A lot of blatant safety lapses were revealed, which lead to arrest of many officials from the yard and sub-contractors.
“Health and safety must come first. This terrible blast could have been avoided. There is a clear lack of infrastructure and equipment in Gadani to prevent such a deadly accident”, said the executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Abid Qaiyum Suleri. “Rescue operations are extremely difficult due to the lack of ambulances and firefighting equipment and because rapid access to the ship and the workers that are still stuck inside is extremely challenging”, added he.
Gadani ship-breaking yard is the world’s third largest ship breaking yard. The yard consists of 132 ship-breaking plots located across a 10 km long beachfront at Gadani, Pakistan, about 50 kilometres northwest of Karachi.
More about the accident:
Death toll after explosion at Pakistani Shipbreaker rose [03/11]
At least 10 killed and 50 injured after explosion and fire at Gadani ship-breaking yard in Pakistan [01/11]