The blast took place in a ONGC ship that was berthed for repair at the Cochin shipyard. Most of the injured are in a critical condition.

At least five people were killed and 10 others injured in a fire after a blast onboard a drilling ship of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) that was under repair at Cochin Shipyard Ltd in Kerala’s Kochi on Tuesday.

Kochi Police commissioner MV Dinesh said the fire after the blast in the oil tank of Sagar Bhushan, which took place around 10:45am, is under control.

“The mishap happened at the dry dock of the shipyard. Five deaths have been confirmed. The situation is under control and an investigation is on to find out how the blast took place,” Dinesh added.

At least three people are reported to be trapped inside the ship and efforts are on to evacuate them.

Union shipping minister Nitin Gadkari said an inquiry has been ordered into the incident.

“Shocked by the unfortunate blast at Cochin Shipyard where four people have died. My heartfelt condolences to bereaved families,” Gadkari tweeted.

“I have spoken to MD, Cochin Shipyard and asked him to provide all necessary medical support to (the) victims and to initiate immediate inquiry with the help of concerned agencies,” he said.

Cochin Shipyard is a public sector undertaking engaged in shipbuilding and ship-repair. The yard repairs the largest vessels in India, including ships of the oil exploration industry, the Indian Navy, the Coast Guard, and merchant ships of the ONGC.