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Sunday Nov 06, 2016

Death toll of Gadani ship fire climbs to 25


GADANI: Three more workers succumbed to their injuries inflicted by the fire at an oil tanker in Gadani ship-breaking yard, taking the death toll to 25.

Labourers identified as Abbas, Alam Babul and Hasan Karim were pronounced dead on Sunday. The workers had been under treatment at Karachi’s Civil Hospital burns ward.

Family of deceased Alam took to the streets in Hub in protest and held a sit-in, blocking traffic flow. 

Rescue operation at the Gadani oil tanker has mostly been completed. However, an accurate figure for the number of workers present on the ship at the time of the explosion has still not been ascertained. Rescue officials claimed that 19 bodies and body parts of three people were recovered from the wreckage.

The manager of the ship has been shifted to CIA centre for interrogation.

Fire at the oil tanker in the Gadani ship-breaking yard was put out on the fourth day, but rescue work inside the ship could not begin right away as the metal plates were scalding hot.

At least 25 people were killed and 58 injured when the ship’s fuel tank exploded on November 1.

The MTSS ship with a Nairobi flag had reached Gadani carrying 19 Indian crew members on October 22. The same day the crew left the ship, sources said.

The ship was bought by owner of Ghafoor and Company Abdul Ghafoor, who has been missing since the incident. Police has arrested the contractor who was dealing with the workers.

A case on behalf of the government has been filed at the Gadani police station. According to police, four suspects have been named in the case: Chaudhry Ghafoor, Muhammad Hafeez, Contractor Jalal and Farooq Bangali.

One of the suspects, Hafeez, has been arrested by police.

Labourers in Gadani often work in poor conditions without basic protective gear.

The Gadani ship-breaking industry has fallen on hard times recently and employs about 9,000 workers, fewer than in its boom years at the end of the last decade.