Mumbai: A fire that broke out on a tank cultivate on Butcher Island, a stacking center for oil based commodities off the city’s east drift, seethed for a few hours on Friday before it was brought under control, authorities said. They said the blast was bound to a tank containing fast diesel, having a place with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).
Experts presume a lightning strike, as the fire began around 5 p.m. at the point when the city and encompassing ranges saw thundershowers. No causalties have been accounted for. Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) representative Rajendra Paibir stated, “The diesel was consuming ceaselessly, making it hard to bring the fire under control. We requested that BPCL deplete the diesel back to the refinery.”
He said officials in Mumbai monitoring the situation were handicapped by mobile network problems on Butcher Island. Mr. Paibir said at present, all communication with the island, also known as Jawahar Dweep, is over radio.
“All employees have been evacuated and the MbPT team of fire fighting experts is dealing with the situation. No casualties have been reported in the incident.”
Coast Guard on standby
Butcher Island houses MbPT’s marine oil terminal. Oil tankers discharge crude at the terminal, which is transported to refineries at Mahul through submerged pipelines, port officials said. The MbPT’s fire brigade said apart from the in-house fire fighting personnel on the island, additional help is being taken from the Victoria Dock fire station. Sanjay Bhatia, chairman, MbPT, said vessels in the island’s vicinity have been moved as a precautionary measure.
According to the MbPT website, four vessels were to call at Butcher Island on Friday, and the last one was supposed to have anchored at 4.12 p.m. The website said BPCL has eight tanks on the island with an installed capacity of 1.79 lakh kilolitres.
Officers at the Indian Navy base near the island said they were monitoring the situation, though there are no naval assets on the island. The Indian Coast Guard said its officers are in contact with MbPT and can send fire fighting equipment if needed. A team of experts from the BMC fire brigade was also assisting in fire fighting operations.
Manohar Rao, executive director and head of safety, BPCL, said prima facie the cause of the fire was lightning, and a detailed probe will be carried out on Saturday. He said two months ago at Visakhapatnam, some tanks belonging to Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. had caught fire due to a lightning strike. Mr. Rao said the tank which had caught fire on Friday was ‘dormant’, and had contained some residual fuel.