GADANI / QUETTA: At least 14 people were killed and 59 wounded Tuesday when a gas cylinder exploded and started a fire inside an oil tanker being broken up for scrap Gadani shipbreaking yard, officials said.
“A gas cylinder explosion caused a huge fire in the ship which was being dismantled,” Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Harifal said, ruling out a deliberate attack.
Nasir Mansoor, a representative of the National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan, said the explosion was so big it blasted pieces of metal two kilometres away.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his “deep grief and sorrow” over the incident, according to a statement by his office.
Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri directed authorities to provide medical assistance to the injured.
Due to lack of precautionary measures, accidents are reported regularly at Gadani. The workers are deprived of safety shoes, leather gloves, protective helmets, overalls and fire extinguishing equipment.
Gadani is the second largest shipbreaking centre of the world after Alang, Mumbai where more than 15,000 workers are directly employed while another two million are earning livelihood indirectly from it.