3 Indian Workers Die in Gas Leak On Board Omani Ship
An accident on board a ship in the northern Omani city of Sohar killed three Indian workers, according to the Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC). The workers died after inhaling ethane gas leaking from the cargo of the ship docked at the port, eyewitnesses said.
“SIPC is working closely with the concerned authorities to investigate the precise cause of the accident,” the port company told The National newspaper, adding that the accident happened on Sept. 30. It did not divulge further details.
“Ethane gas leaked from the ship’s cargo haul where it was stored and these workers inhaled it and died,” a witness told the newspaper. According to another witness, the port workers were not able to leave their offices due to the leak. “The gas leak escaped in the air and we could not dare to go out. It is a deadly one and if you don’t get immediately attention then you die within 30 minutes,” the witness said.
Ethane, which is used in petrochemical industries, is a by-product of oil refinery. The SIPC freezone has two oil refineries in Sohar, which produce 116,000 barrels a day. However, its current production is at 198,000 barrels per day. The freezone also has methanol and aluminum plants, which also produce ethane.
While it is not clear how the leak occurred, the SIPC workers claim that the port authorities did not respond quickly to the situation. Questions would be raised on where the supervisors were when they were supposed to unload the stuff safely. Also it appears that the emergency response of SIPC was poor, the witness added.