Saudi fuel tank explosion was not solely OFW’s fault – report

MIGRANTE International today released an independent report by an investigating team consisting of Saudi engineers, experts and consultants on the fuel tank explosion in Saudi last November 1 that left 23 dead, including an OFW, and 131 injured.

The final report and analysis was confidentially forwarded to Migrante International by contacts who conducted the source and root cause of the explosion after they learned that OFW driver Ruben Kebeng was being held solely responsible for the tragedy.

In the report, the explosion was attributed to a number of factors: the accident (Kebeng’s gas truck hitting the post near the explosion site), the gas leak caused by the accident and the high-level of flammability of the Alzahed Contractors Building.

However, the engineers and experts also concluded that the extent of the damages and casualties was caused mainly by the volatility of the area where the accident took place, and not the simply the accident per se.

It was found out that the Alzahed Contractors Building is so highly-flammable that it caused an unconfirmed vapor cloud explosion (UVCE), compounding to massive proportions the intensity of the explosion and the area it affected. (please see attached)

“While we are not discounting Kebeng’s accountability in the accident, it is unfair to place the blame for the deadly explosion solely on him, given these findings. It is clear that following investigations on the root causes of the explosion, some other factor was hugely responsible and this should be taken into great consideration in Kebeng’s defense,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

Martinez criticized the Philippine government for being too quick to accept reports and allegations on Kebeng’s accountability when it had not even conducted an investigation yet.

“In fact, based on statements made to the media by Philippine government representatives, it appears as if they have already accepted that Kebeng is solely to blame without any basis of investigation or further study. Ito ba ang gobyernong nagpoprotekta at nagsasaalang-alang sa kapakanan ng ating mga OFW?” he said.

Martinez said that they will submit the report and analysis to legislators to prompt them to conduct an independent investigation on the explosion.

The Philippine government’s response and lack of immediate substantive action on the Saudi explosion and on other cases of distressed OFWs will be highlighted in witness’ testimonies to be presented in the upcoming International Migrants’ Tribunal on November 28-29, Martinez said.

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