Butcher Island Fire- Industrial Plant Safety

Mumbai Butcher Island Diesel Storage Tank on fire

Industrial Accidents
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Mumbai Oct 8,2017– For more than 36 hours, a large Diesel storage tank on Butcher Island, Mumbai has been on fire. The tank is part of a large tank farm, which is part of the Mumbai Port Trust’s oil terminal on Butcher Island, off the coast of Mumbai. This particular tank is said to be having a capacity of 30 kilo litres and is owned by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), which is one of the leading Oil companies in India. The blaze can be seen from a long distance and a large plume of smoke can be seen in the sky emanating from the site.

Efforts are on to remove the remaining diesel from the bottom of the tank while simultaneously fire fighting the surface with foam. There are several other tanks in the vicinity and they are also being emptied as a precautionary measure. The below picture has been taken from a long distance away, near Sewree. The fire is seen as is the large smoke cloud. The facilities in the left of the picture are most probably the Tata Power plant smoke stacks. Two refineries, one of HPCL (Hindustan Petroluem Corp Ltd) and BPCL are in the same vicinity as the Tata Power plant.

Butcher Island Fire- Industrial Plant Safety
Butcher Island Fire- Copyright 2017. Industrial Plant Safety. Do not use without permission.

It is unclear as to how the tank caught fire, although one of the possible reasons is a lightning strike. The Mumbai area has seen several thunder strikes and rain during this week, as is usual during the ending days of the monsoon season.However, most modern tanks in oil tank farms are having protection systems in place, for lightning protection, overfill prevention, fire and gas detection systems, CCTVs and so on. We will come to know the root cause only once the enquiry is over. Lightning protection systems typically have a lightning conductor mounted at the topmost point that is connected with a thick strip of Copper wire to a separate earth pit to carry the huge current in a lightning strike safely to ground. Any absence of such a system or its malfunctioning could cause fires.

In the recent past there have been several tank farm fires all over the world due to various reasons. This latest one adds to that count.