Chittagong district administration has completed an investigation into the ammonia tank collapse at Di-Ammonium Phosphate Fertilizer Company Ltd, Deputy Commissioner Mesbah Uddin told Dhaka Tribune yesterday.
The DC said they found many faults at the factory which had triggered the gas leak.
“It was faulty management that caused the accident. We have already done the probe and we will submit it within seven days,” he said.
“We have determined who were responsible behind the accident. The accident happened due to the negligence of some persons in the factory,” added the DC.
According to the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC), the tank was filled with 250 tonnes of ammonia gas when it collapsed on the night of Aug 22.
Tank was maintained by unskilled staff
Additional Magistrate Md Mominur Rashid, who led the 3-member probe committee, said five essential safety equipment, that were needed to prevent the tank's collapse, had been out of commission for a long time.
“The two pressure gauges of the tank were out of order long before the accident took place. Both the pressure transmitters of the reserve tank were inoperative. The condenser, safety valves and pressure vent were also out of order,” said the investigator.
Mominur said they had talked to five officials of the factory designated for maintaining and operating the reserve tank.
“Instead of skilled engineers, the reserve gas tank was regrettably being run by a group of lower level employees who do not have any training on this,” said the investigator.
The factory's operation department had informed the maintenance department about the faults but they did not pay heed, Mominur said.
“Rather, the engineers sent some technicians to repair the faults. The engineers did not even go to the spot of the accident,” said the probe chief.
We were saved by luck
Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan, director general of Fire Service and Civil Defence, said faulty management and lack of proper maintenance were largely responsible for the accident.
“The factory authorities did not have any preparedness to tackle the emission of toxic gas. The gas spread far and wide so rapidly because the fire hydrant system of the fertliser factory did not work after the accident,” he said.
“There was no periodic maintenance in the factory. We were saved from a great disaster by luck, as the air was blowing towards west that day,” he said, alluding to the fact that east of the factory was densely populated.
The DG said the Fire Service was still not very well-equipped to handle such scenarios.
“The gas leak accident is a new experience for us. This has been a lesson for us to prepare ourselves to combat such accidents,” he said.
A group of 30 well-trained fire fighters who received special training from Singapore put in their best efforts at Anwara, the Fire Service chief said.
Manufacturer company visits spot
Meanwhile, a delegation team of the Chinese manufacturing team that built the plant visited DAP Fertiliser Company Ltd yesterday, five days after the accident.
The 12-member delegation of China National Complete Plant Import and Export Corporation came from Dhaka and inspected the fertiliser factory.
The company constructed the 500-tonnes reserve tank in 2006.