Pre-trial investigations begin into Ukraine ammonia pipeline rupture

07 August 2013 11:25  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--A joint briefing was held on Wednesday over pre-trial investigations into a ruptured pipeline at an ammonia plant in Gorlovka, Kiev, managed by local producer PJSC Concern Stirol, which left five employees dead, the office of the prosecutor for the Donetsk region said.

The rupture also left 21 people in hospital with symptoms of ammonia poisoning, according to a release from the office of the prosecutor for the Donetsk region.

The briefing comprised the deputy prosecutor general of Ukraine, the prosecutor of the Donetsk region and deputy head of Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs' investigation department.

A criminal investigation into the incident will be launched by an operational task force, the office of the prosecutor added.

The investigation will consider the possible inappropriate use of equipment including potential negligence from staff and the violation of safety rules including during repair work.

PJSC Concern Stirol announced on Tuesday that a pipeline at an ammonia plant it manages in Gorlovka had ruptured.

The company said there was a gas leak brought on by the failure of the pipeline’s containment systems. The current risk to the local population is not yet known. Stirol confirmed that an investigation has begun to identify the cause of the leak.

According to a source, the explosion took place at one of the facility’s two working ammonia lines. The affected line was under maintenance before the explosion took place, and the other line is unaffected.

The maintenance had already reduced ammonia production at the site by 50%, but production has not been further reduced by the blowout at the site.

The company said on 29 May this year that overhaul repairs on one of its ammonia units had been completed following a fire at the site earlier in the year.

Additional reporting by Tom Brown and Rebecca Clarke

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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