LASBELA: At least five workers were killed and several reported to be missing after a ship anchored at Gadani ship-breaking yard caught fire for the second time on Monday, rescue sources said.
Following the incident, police arrested Rizwan Diwan Farooqi, the owner of the out-of-service LPG ship which caught fire, Deputy Commissioner Lasbela confirmed. Rizwan Diwan Farooqi is also a former chairman of the Ship-breaking Yard Association. Although the fire was extinguished, the search for the missing workers continues. According to rescue sources, more than 50 workers were present on the ship when the fire broke out.
Most of the workers have been safely evacuated. The victims' bodies were transferred to Civil Hospital Gadani, rescue sources added. Medical officer of Basic Health Unit Dr. Younas Balooch told media persons that two workers belonging to KPK have been identified among the dead, adding that the number of casualties is feared to rise. It has been learnt that Chief Minister of Balochistan Sanaullah Zuhri took notice of the incident and issued directives to take stern action against those found responsible. It is pertinent to mention here that the same ship had caught fire some weeks earlier as well. However, the fire had been extinguished without any loss of life.
On November 1 last year 25 people were killed and at least 58 injured when a ship's fuel tank at Gadani ship-breaking yard had exploded, resulting in a deadly fire. Labourers in Gadani often work in poor conditions without basic protective gear.