The styrene gas leak in the South Korean company unit in the early hours of May 7 killed 15 people and affected more than a thousand people in settlements and villages about 2 kilometers away.
Company management blamed the accident on an unfortunate self-curing process that took place for more than 40 days of operations shutdown during the nationwide lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The crash happened as LG Polymers was preparing to resume operations on May 7 after being closed for weeks during the lockdown.
Among those arrested are LG Polymers India Managing Director and CEO Sunkey Jeong, Technical Director DS Kim, Additional Operations Director P Poorna Chandra Mohan Rao and nine others, including engineers responsible for operations.
Within hours, the PA pollution control committee on Wednesday announced the suspension of current and previous regional PCB officials in Visakhapatnam “in response to the report submitted by the high-power committee on the LP gas accident. Polymers Visakhapatnam. ”
Immediately after the arrest, PA police said in a statement: âInvestigation reveals that the accident of the M6 ââStyrene storage tank took place due to the negligence of the above people who also know that these acts are likely to cause death. ”
Introducing the 12 accused LG Polymers executives to court seeking their judicial referral, the police, under the supervision of Visakhapatnam Police Commissioner RK Meena, said that “the case is under investigation as reports from various departments must be received and reviewed. witnesses.”
Andhra Police said the investigation to date has revealed that the crash occurred due to “poor design of the M6 ââtank, inadequate refrigeration and cooling system, lack of refrigeration systems. circulation, inadequate measurement parameters, weak safety protocol, poor safety awareness, inadequate risk assessment and response, mismanagement, lax management, insufficient staff knowledge, insufficient understanding of properties chemicals of styrene, especially during storage under inactive conditions and complete disruption of emergency response procedures.
Previously, after LG Polymers transferred gaseous styrene from its storage tanks to South Korea after the accident investigation, the Andhra Pradesh High Court ordered the plant to shut down on May 24 and prohibited company executives to leave the country.
A week after the poison gas leak accident, LG Polymers announced that it had brought its team of experts from South Korea to investigate the cause of the accident and support rehabilitation, and said the monomer inventory of styrene had been transferred to South Korea by ships “to prevent and eliminate all risk factors.”
The South Korean company is currently involved in a legal battle with Indian courts, including the National Green Tribunal in Delhi, which invoked the ‘strict liability’ clause against LG Polymers and ordered to deposit an initial amount of Rs 50 crore for compensation for damage caused to life, public health and the environment.