Gas leak aboard warship kills naval commander

Gas leak aboard warship kills naval commander

A naval commander was killed and a worker of Mazagaon Docks Ltd (MDL) injured in a gas leak incident aboard the country’s biggest stealth warship under construction, “Yard-701” (INS Kolkata) on Friday noon.

MDL spokesman Parvez Panthaky told reporters: “There was an incident of gas leakage in one of the hatches of fire-fighting equipments when the ship was being inspected by Commander Kunal Wadhva and some technicians.

“Commander Wadhva died before admission to the hospital while worker Aslam Gaffar Kazi, who suffered breathing problems, was discharged later in the day,” he said.

The spokesman stressed that there was no fire aboard the ship anchored for testing fire-fighting equipments at Mumbai Port Trust dock. “There was no fire and no explosion or any kind of damage to the ship, which is still under construction.

 The ship is expected to be commissioned in a couple of months and her name will be INS Kolkata.”

Earlier, there were rumours that Commander Wadhva succumbed to injuries after being hit by a valve capping a CO2 gas cylinder.

 However, the statement recorded by local police based on the statements by Kazi and other technicians gave a different version.

According to Yellowgate Police Station, which registered a case of accident: “At about 12:45 hrs, carbon dioxide got released from a hatch when the cap opened accidentally, suffocating Navy man Kunal Wadhva (42 years) resident of Colaba and Aslam Gaffar Kazi (51 years) a resident of Pathanwadi, Malad. 

Wadhva was declared dead before admission in St George Hospital at 13:17 hrs while Kazi has been admitted to the ICU unit of Prince Ali Hospital in Mazagaon but was in a condition to give statement. Relatives of both Wadhva and Kazi have reached hospital.”

Prior to her berthing at BPT docks, the ship was berthed at Naval Docks and MDL dry docks. 

MDL is country’s premier shipyard and constructs warships, submarines, offshore platforms, tankers, passenger ships, support vessels not just for Indian Navy but also for oil companies and foreign private shipping firms.

Friday's incident is the second major accident affecting the defence establishment within a fortnight. On February 26, a fire aboard submarine INS Sindhuratna led to the death of two electrical engineers.

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