BEIJING, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Altogether 63 people have been penalized over a fatal pipeline explosion that claimed 62 lives in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao on Nov. 22, the State Council said in a statement on Friday.
Among them, 48 received punishments for violating Party and administrative discipline, and 15 others have been transferred to judicial organs for alleged crimes, the statement said.
Fu Chengyu, board chairman of Sinopec, China's second-biggest oil producer and operator of the pipeline, received a demerit administrative sanction, and Qingdao mayor Zhang Xinqi received a warning administrative sanction.
At least six other officials with Sinopec and Qingdao were removed from Party and administrative posts and one official with the development zone where the blast occurred was demoted, according to the statement.
Sinopec responded by saying that it would absolutely submit to the penalties and will bear in mind the "lesson of blood."
It said in a statement that it will continue to cooperate with local government in handling the aftermath of the accident and overhaul safety hazards in its pipeline network.
The major cause of the accident was corrosion that wore down the pipeline, leading to the break. Meanwhile, work on a sewage cover plate on the day of the accident involved use of a hydraulic hammer that wasn't explosion-proof, which produced the sparks that triggered the blasts, a spokesman from China's top work safety watchdog said on Thursday.
Economic losses from the blast, which also injured another 136 people, totaled 750 million yuan (about 123.9 million U.S. dollars).
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