Over 20 hours later, fireman continue to fight blaze at Butcher Island oil terminal off Mumbai coast

Over 20 hours later, fireman continue to fight blaze at Butcher Island oil terminal off Mumbai coast
Excessive heat caused the blaze to re-ignite around 4.30 am today (Courtesy: ANI)

Over 20 hours after a massive fire broke out at a high speed diesel tank off the coast of Mumbai following a lightning strike, more than 50 fireman continue to fight the blaze on Saturday.

The fire broke out on Friday on the tiny Butcher Island, which serves as an oil terminal for the Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), around eight kilometres in the Arabian Sea off the landmark Gateway of India.

Clouds of smoke billowing in the sky were visible here and in mainland Raigad, two kilometres away.

“The situation is under control and there are no casualties. Efforts are on to control the fire by the Mumbai Port Trust fire personnel,” BPCL Executive Director Manohar Rao told IANS, while en route to the island.

According to official sources, the affected tank capacity is around 40,000 tonnes, which was partly filled with HSD (High Speed Diesel). Nearly 25 percent has been lost in the flames.

The fire brigade said the blaze was noticed around 5 pm after lightning struck the island and was initially battled by a team of safety officers stationed there.

Later, a team of Mumbai Port Trust, which has jurisdiction over the island, was sent by a speedboat to help battle the conflagration.

The firefighters had brought the blaze under control, but “excessive heat” led to re-ignition at the tank around 4.30 am today.

“Excessive heat caused re-ignition around 4.30 am today. Firefighting as well as the cooling operations are on. Foam and other extinguishing agents are being used for the purpose,” Mumbai fire brigade chief PS Rahangdale said.

The operation has been on for nearly 20 hours.

The small island, also known as Jawahar Dweep, belongs to the Mumbai Port Trust and serves to offload crude oil from oil tankers which is stored in the containers there before being shipped to an oil refinery in Wadala.

After the fire broke out, vessels in the vicinity of the island were moved to a distance as a precautionary measure.

With agency inputs

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