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Fire at ship breaking yard kills 5 workers in Pakistan

Several others injured, rescue operation ongoing to find missing

Ekip   | 09.01.2017
Fire at ship breaking yard kills 5 workers in Pakistan


By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan

At least five workers were killed and several others injured when a fire broke out at a ship breaking yard in southeastern Pakistan on Monday, according to police.

The incident -- the third in less than three months -- occurred in Gadani, a coastal village located some 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of Karachi.

Zulfikar Ali Shah, the deputy commissioner of Labella district, in which Gaddani town falls, told reporters that over 50 laborers were working on the out-of-service LPG ship when the fire broke out.

"The owner of the ship has been taken into custody for interrogation," Shah said, adding the same ship had caught fire last December with no casualties reported.

Rescue operations are continuing to find several missing workers, he added.

There was no immediate word about what caused the accident. However, quoting environmentalists, local Dawn TV reported that a chemical foam, which needs to be removed from out-of-service ships before the breaking work starts, was responsible for the fire.

The ship breaking yard in Gadani is considered one of the biggest of its kind in Asia -- disused ships from all around the world come to the yard to be dismantled for their steel and other spare parts.

Last November, a massive fire broke out inside an oil tanker and killed 26 workers and injuring over 60 at the same yard. The tanker, investigations said, was being used for oil smuggling.

Safety standards at the Gadani yard are known to be inadequate.

A local worker, Ghulam Nabi, was quoted by Dunya television as saying last November: "The majority of laborers work here even without helmets and safety jackets."

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