More than 10 million liters of diesel have been smoked in the Butcher Island fire, according to the media. High-speed diesel boosted the nearly four-day fire that took Butcher Island near Mumbai, resulting in losses of at least Rs 60-70 crore, reported The Times of India.
The fire also had a huge environmental impact, as residents of Uran (part of Navi Mumbai) claimed they were witnessing a “black rain,” according to a report in Mumbai Mirror.
While the authorities said the fire is under control, residents claim that pollution has affected marine life in the area. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of the Union has already opened a fire investigation.
The fire broke out Friday night in a high-speed diesel tank off the coast of Mumbai after lightning.
A team of 50 firefighters fought the fire. Firefighters first managed to control the fire, but the “excessive heat” had made it re-ignite at about 4:30 on Saturday.
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) has eight reservoirs on the farm at Butcher Island, also known as Jawahar Dweep.
Ships transport crude oil and other cargoes and discharge them at the Jawahar Dweep anchor, which are stored in tanks and transported to nearby refineries by underwater pipelines.
Sanjay Bhatia, president of the Mumbai Port Trust, said the fire was confined to a BPCL tanks farm. According to official sources, the capacity of the dam affected is about 40,000 tons, partially filled with high-speed diesel. Almost 25 percent were lost to the flames.
BPAR executive director Manohar Rao said there will be no shortage of HSD (High Speed Diesel) in the market due to the fire. High-speed diesel is normally used as fuel in medium- and high-speed compression ignition engines in commercial vehicles, stationary diesel engines, locomotives and pumps.
A spokesman for BPCL said on Friday that lightning in the midst of the storms was the apparent cause of the fire. “A diesel tank caught fire due to lightning and thunderstorms,” he said.
Manohar Rao, chief executive and chief security officer, BPCL, said prima facie, the cause of the fire was lightning, but a more thorough investigation will take place on Saturday.