The massive fire that raged on at Butcher Island for four days was extinguished late on Monday night. A decision to resume fuel storage and transport operations will be taken after a review on Wednesday. The Mumbai Port Trust and firefighting teams had decided to allow the fire in a Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) tank containing high-speed diesel, to burn itself out after attempts to douse it did not work.
Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust, said the blaze was extinguished on Monday night. All of Monday, the bottom of the gutted tank had been smouldering after the flames went out. The operation was finally called off and fire teams left the island.
Bhatia said that the Director General, Shipping, and BPCL will asses the situation on the island and survey the damage caused by the blaze to the submerged pipelines transporting fuel to the mainland. “They will take a call on Wednesday about resuming operations,” said Bhatia.
Butcher Island, which is also known as Jawahar Dweep, is used as a terminal to store fuel by oil companies. The fire broke out in the BPCL tank containing 30,000 metric tonnes of diesel on October 6 in what the authorities suspect was a lightning strike as the city experienced heavy thunderstorms that day.
BPCL managed to save more than 15,000 metric tonnes of diesel from the burning tank as they drained it even as it burned. Fuel was also drained from the other tanks as a precautionary measure. “We are yet to tally the losses incurred of the fuel and revenue due to fire in Butcher Island, as it was completely doused only in Monday. We will do a study on what preventive action can be taken to avoid this situation in future and implement the recommended measures,” said Sunder Ramesh, Director Marketing, BPCL.