Singapore’s BW Offshore has denied that a fatal accident at a recycling yard in India took place on any of its former vessels.

The Oslo-listed company was responding to a report by environmental group NGO Shipbreaking Platform about a worker’s death on the 138,000-dwt floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit Cidade de Sao Vicente (built 1976) on 21 April at Priya Blue Industries in Alang.

BW Offshore confirmed it was informed about a fatal accident at plot V1.

But the company said: “The accident was unrelated to the ongoing recycling of former BW Offshore FPSOs at the yard.

“The company’s representatives at the yard did not witness the event. They are in close contact with the yard about the ongoing investigation and have offered their assistance,” BW Offshore added.

NGO Shipbreaking Platform had cited local sources as saying a nitrogen tank removed from the vessel violently exploded and killed a worker on the spot.

A spokesperson for Priya Blue told TradeWinds: “In regard to the unfortunate incident that occurred at our ship recycling facility, we would like to put the speculations to rest by confirming that the accident happened at the secondary cutting zone and not on any of the vessels currently being recycled within the facility.”

A thorough independent investigation by the relevant authorities is underway to identify the root cause and sequence of events, the spokesperson added.

The FPSO was sold to the Priya Blue Industries shipbreaking yard in Alang, India, in February for $12.8m after a cold-lay-up in Oman and unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a new contract in Brazil, where the unit operated for 11 years under charter to Brazil’s Petrobras.

The green group said BW Offshore was offered a “more sustainable” solution for the recycling when it was in the Middle East by newcomer Elegant Exit Company at the Bahrain-based ASRY drydock.

Green deal

But the shipowner maintained the sale to Priya Blue was green.

The group nominated a third party to be on site at the recycling yard to ensure health, safety and environmental regulations are followed.

A demolition plan was also prepared and provided by the yard in cooperation with the Gujarat Maritime Board.

Priya Blue Industries was among the first yards in India to obtain a Statement of Compliance with the Hong Kong Convention on vessel recycling from Japanese class society ClassNK.

The company has also been a member of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative since 2018.