KARACHI: It took three long days to put out a massive fire on Friday that broke on November 1 after blasts ripped through an oil tanker at a ship-breaking yard in Gadani, killing at least 17 and injuring more than 60 workers.
Almost 70 per cent of the gigantic ship has been burnt, which according to official sources, was going through the process of dismantling for scrapping or disposal without a non-objection certificate (NOC).
Sources confirmed the ship had hundreds of tonnes of oil at the time of it dismantling that fuelled blasts in it.
Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri on Thursday also briefly visited the site of the incident at Gadani – one of the largest ship-breaking yards in the world – and insisted authorities to complete an investigation into the mishap within a week.
Meanwhile, ship’s owner, buyer and Chairman Ship-Breaking Association has been nabbed for questioning over their negligence.
When the incident happened last Tuesday, the fire had engulfed the vessel moored in Gadani, 45km (28 miles) north-west of the port city of Karachi.
The blasts occurred in the fuel tank of the ship. Later firefighters from Karachi and from the air force and navy attempted to put out the blaze which was put out finally on Friday.
An eyewitness said the firefighters had to wait for the fire to die out as they lack the foam required to douse it.
Labourers in the ship breaking industry often work in poor conditions without basic protective gear.
The Gadani ship-breaking industry has fallen on hard times recently and employs about 9,000 workers, fewer than in its boom years at the end of the last decade.