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Nine arrested following Qingdao oil blasts – Xinhua

26 November 2013

Police in China have arrested nine people in relation to explosions that killed 55 people, the Xinhua news agency reported on November 26. 160 people were injured and nine people are still missing following the blasts in the eastern city of Qingdao, which happened after a leaking oil pipeline owned by oil refiner Sinopec caught fire on November 22. 

Qingdao, Shangdong province, Eastern China
Qingdao, Shangdong province, Eastern China

Seven of those arrested were Sinopec employees, while two came from the city's economic and technological development zone, Xinhua reported.

The blasts forced Sinopec, Asia's top oil refiner, to cut production at two of its refineries in China's eastern Shandong province. Reuters said oil traders also expected Sinopec to cut back on crude purchases while a backlog of tankers outside one port clears.

The explosions, caused by crude oil leaking into the city's storm drains, left a gaping crater in a major street, overturned scores of cars and shattered windows at nearby buildings. More than 160 people were injured and nine were reported missing.

The accident resulted from a "very serious dereliction of duty", the Shanghai Daily quoted Yang Dongliang, director of the State Administration of Work Safety, as saying.

The layout of oil pipelines and urban drainage pipes was unreasonable, pipeline supervision was negligent and oil leakage before the blasts was handled unprofessionally, Yang was quoted as saying.

"The pipe was not properly maintained, leading to the original oil leak, and following the leak the emergency procedures were insufficient. They did not take preventative measures such as sealing off the area and evacuating people," Xinhua added, quoting Mr Yang.

Initial reports said there was one explosion, but Xinhua later said the leak triggered two blasts, one near the leaking pipeline and the other close to where the drainage pipe empties into the sea.

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited survivors of the blast at a Qingdao hospital on November 24.

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