About 60 hospitalised in India after ammonia leak at fertiliser plant

By Praveen Paramasivam and Nandan Mandayam

CHENNAI/BENGALURU (Reuters) -About 60 people have been hospitalised after an ammonia leak from a pipeline belonging to India’s Coromandel International near its Ennore plant in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, the government said.

The people were hospitalised after they had difficulty in breathing and a burning sensation in the eyes, and 52 people are still under observation, the government said in a statement.

The leak took place when Coromandel’s fertiliser manufacturing unit was preparing to receive an ammonia shipment through its 2.5 kilometre-long (1.5 mile) undersea pipeline.

“The unit observed pressure drop in the pipeline at around 11.45 pm and simultaneously observed pungent odour around the storage terminal and near the material gate,” the statement said.

“They will identify the exact location and the extent of pipeline damage within a day and will rectify the same before commencing the ammonia transfer.”

Coromandel’s shares dropped as much as 3.7% on Wednesday, before closing 1.6% lower.

“All are safe and normalcy is restored. We have informed relevant authorities about the incident,” Coromandel said in an exchange filing earlier in the day.

The incident comes weeks after an oil spill in the same area from a refinery belonging to Indian Oil-owned Chennai Petroleum Corp during Cyclone Michaung.

Separately, one worker was killed and another was injured in an explosion at state-run refiner Indian Oil Corp’s (IOC) plant in Chennai on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Nandan Mandayam in Bengaluru and Praveen Paramasivam in Chennai; Editing by Sohini Goswami and Devika Syamnath)