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Oil tanker blast at Chennai Port kills one, injures three

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CHENNAI : An explosion on board an oil product tanker docked along one of the berths at India’s Chennai Port killed a worker and injured three others on Tuesday morning (10 November), according to industry sources.

The blast occurred when workers were using a gas cutter as part of repairs to the Indian-flag vessel.

“The sparks from the gas cutter fell on the pipeline, leading to a fire accident,” a senior police official said.

The injured victims were immediately rushed to a nearby hospital and are under treatment.

The harbour police authority has launched an investigation into the fatal incident.

The police said the fire accident occurred on the Odisha-based oil tanker MT Patriot ship that was brought to Chennai for repair work at Coastal Work Place in Chennai Port complex on 31st October.

According to available information, the oil tanker arrived at Chennai on 30 October and remained moored at the coastal berth, alongside PSA Chennai, also known as Chennai International Terminals Pvt Ltd. (CITPL).

Sources said the accident only briefly affected terminal operations and cargo flow in/out of the port continues to remain at the normal pace.

Chennai Port is one of 12 major government-owned gateways on India’s east coast. The harbour includes a DP World-managed container terminal, CCTPL.

Chennai — once the focal point of carrier calls on India’s east coast — has suffered heavy market share losses in recent years with the emergence of new private terminals in the region under the ownership of Adani Group, notably Kattupalli Port.

Compounding that concern, the IEX Service – offering a direct connection between South India and Europe – will be shifting calls from Chennai Port to Kattupalli from next month.  IEX’s volume lifts have averaged 5,000 TEUs per call, which makes the switch-over a big blow for Chennai.

Chennai Port saw 935,094 TEUs from April to September, the first half of fiscal year 2023-24.  Of this, PSA Chennai (CITPL) contributed 520,621 TEUs, while DP World Chennai (CCTPL) handled 414,473 TEUs, according to port data.

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