Kochi: A blast inside the water ballast of an ONGC tanker ship that killed five persons on Tuesday at the Cochin Shipyard here, is being taken seriously by the Centre and an independent probe is likely, said an Union Minister.
Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan, who arrived here on Wednesday and inspected the accident site, dropped hints that an independent probe into the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation tanker blast was likely.
"At the moment, the Kerala Police, Factories and Broilers Department and the Shipyard are all probing the accident.
"I have also seen the fire occurred at one corner place and it was not a big one.
"We will now wait for all the reports to come and then will decide what should be next," said Radhakrishnan, when asked if an independent probe into the incident would be initiated by the Centre.
He also met trade union leaders and other officials of the shipyard.
A team of forensic experts reached the accident site on Wednesday and were conducting detailed tests .
The explosion occurred at around 9.45 a.m. on Tuesday when nine workers were engaged in welding inside the water ballast. At least four others were injured in the blast.
The tanker ship was dry-docked at the Cochin Shipyard for a month for repairs and maintenance. All the dead are from Kerala.
About 10 workers who were working away from the water ballast suffered minor injuries when splinters from the blast hit them.