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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

ONGC’s Uran fire brings back memories of 2005, when hundreds jumped into the sea

After a fire at a gas processing unit owned by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) at Uran in Navi Mumbai on Tuesday, a look at the 2005 devastating fire at ONGC’s Mumbai High unit

india Updated: Sep 03, 2019 10:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A file photo of technician working inside the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) station on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. On Tuesday, a fire broke out a gas processing unit owned by the ONGC at Uran in Navi Mumbai .
A file photo of technician working inside the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) station on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. On Tuesday, a fire broke out a gas processing unit owned by the ONGC at Uran in Navi Mumbai .(Reuters file photo)
         

The fire at a gas processing unit owned by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) at Uran in Navi Mumbai on Tuesday morning killed four people bringing back memories of the devastating fire in the .ONGC-run Mumbai High in 2005.

Eleven people were killed, 362 people were rescued on July 27, 2005 when a vessel collided with one of the four platforms of the rig, 12 nautical miles off Mumbai. The platform was destroyed within two hours of the fire and property loss was valued at nearly $300 million.

The accident took place when ONGC’s multi-purpose support vessel (MPSV) “Samudra Suraksha”, under Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) operation, was engaged in a medical evacuation operation. The MPSV lost control, drifted, and collided with the platform causing a major fire which also engulfed the MPSV, then Oil and Petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar had said in Parliament.

“Given the intensity of the fire and consequent damage, the platform was abandoned according to a well-rehearsed abandonment drill used in offshore operations. Similarly, personnel from the multi-purpose support vessel (MSV) were evacuated, except for six divers who are now undergoing decompression and are expected to survive,” Aiyar had said.

This happened at the time when Mumbai was already grappling with severe destruction caused by floods and rains in Mumbai claiming 300 lives. The control centre at Bandra (East) was non-functional as a result of power outage, all communication links were destroyed and the fleet of 12 chartered helicopters at Juhu helibase were completely grounded because of the flood situation. So, an emergency control centre was set up immediately to manage the response to the fire.

In another major accident involving ONGC officials, a Pawan Hans helicopter carrying seven people, including five senior officials of the Corporation, crashed off Mumbai’s coast on Jan 13, 2018. The chopper was on its way to a production platform.

On March 13, 2019, in a fire incident at an oil well of ONGC at Nandej near Ahmedabad claimed two contractual workers’ lives and left four others severely injured.