Gas Explosion at Hanwha Ocean Shipyard Halts Production and Claims Worker’s Life

SEOUL, South Korea – Production has been temporarily halted at the Hanwha Ocean shipyard in Okpo after a tragic gas explosion took the life of a worker on Friday. The shipbuilder has refrained from providing details about the incident, but local reports suggest that the explosion occurred at a ship rudder fabrication shop, resulting in the death of a 28-year-old employee from a subcontractor company.

According to witnesses, the explosion was caused by a gas leak during grinding work on a rudder block, which resulted in pieces of flying metal hitting the worker and propelling him over 10 meters from the blast. Authorities are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident.

Hanwha Ocean has announced that production at its Geoje Island facility will resume once the cause of the incident is determined and necessary safety measures are in place. The company, previously not involved in shipbuilding, acquired shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in 2023, rebranding as Hanwha Ocean and initiating a $1.5 billion effort to expand and modernize the company.

Kwon Hyek-woong, appointed as chief executive, has been cautious in accepting new orders but has recently shown more active engagement in discussions with shipowners and brokers. The shipbuilder currently has contracts for over 100 vessels, predominantly container ships, LNG carriers, VLACs, and naval work.

The incident serves as a tragic reminder of the risks involved in the shipbuilding industry and the importance of prioritizing safety measures to prevent such devastating accidents in the future. The company’s response to this incident and the actions taken to improve safety standards will be closely monitored by industry experts and regulatory authorities.