Gaddani—An oil taker exploded in Gadani beach, near Sonmani ship breaking yard, some 30 miles from Karachi Tuesday, killing fourteen workers and injuring more than 50, trade union officials said, adding that the death toll could rise.
It was a big explosion, said the leader of a ship-breaking workers union adding that fire engulfed the vessel moored in Gaddani. “Things are really bad here,” union president Basheer Mehmoodani told Reuters by telephone.
“There’s an unclear number of workers said to be trapped in the burning ship.” It was not clear what caused the blast.
Firefighters were called from Karachi but they proved ineffective given the size of the blaze, he said.
Nasir Mansoor, a representative of the National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan, said the explosion was so big it blasted pieces of metal two kilometers (one mile) away. “The blaze is still raging and there is nothing fire-fighters can do except to wait for it to die out as they lack foam required douse it,” Mansoor said.
Laborers in Gaddani often work in poor conditions without basic protective gear. The Gaddani ship-breaking industry has fallen on hard times recently and employs about 9,000 workers, fewer than in boom years