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ONGC platform fire toll reaches 12

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Last updated on: July 28, 2005 11:08 IST

The death toll in the devastating fire at the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation's oil platform off the Mumbai coast has risen to 12 with 15 people still reported missing.

"We have rescued in all 348 people so far and efforts are on to rescue and locate the missing," Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar told PTI on Thursday.

Aiyar said he is accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Mumbai to make a first-hand assessment of the situation and oversee relief and rescue operations. "I am travelling with the prime minister on a special aircraft, but will stay back to oversee the operations there," he said.

Aiyar said the injured, who are very few in number, were being treated at a naval hospital ship and he may also visit the vessel later in the evening.

"I will be making a suo motu statement on the accident in Parliament on Thursday morning," Aiyar said, adding he and the prime minister are likely to leave for Mumbai at 1 pm.

Following the fire, the Shipping Corporation of India's oil tanker Gurbajan Salaria, which was loading oil from the Single Buoying Mooring near the fire-hit ONGC platform, was asked to move away for safety reasons, SCI officials said in New Delhi.

Meanwhile, vessels of SCI and Great Eastern Shipping Company Ltd have been deployed for rescue operations.

"SCI's Offshore Supply Vessel 01 and OSV 06 have been participating in the rescue operations," officials said.

GE Shipping have deployed their OSVs Malavia 16 and Malavia 4 for rescue operations, company officials said.

"Six of the dead are ONGC employees and two are contract workers," a senior ONGC official said in Mumbai.

Six more employees have been located trapped under the debris of the oil platform and rescue teams are trying to get them out.

"The company has put up the names of the rescued employees and the dead on our Website," an official said.

The fire broke out at around 4.30 pm on Wednesday at the platform, about 160 km from the Mumbai coast.

There were 385 people on the platform when the incident took place, apparently due to collision of a vessel docked
nearby, in high tide.

Of those rescued, 129 are being brought to the Mumbai port later Thursday afternoon even as the navy and coastguard
continue to look after them.


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