An Indian navy commander has died and four dockworkers have fallen ill after a gas leak on a destroyer being built in a Mumbai dockyard.

The gas leak on Friday was caused by a malfunction in a carbon dioxide unit on the destroyer, state-owned Mazagon Dock Limited said in a statement. It said the ill workers were taken to hospital.

The leak on the unnamed destroyer is the latest in a string of fatal accidents to befall the navy.

Last week, navy chief Admiral D.K. Joshi resigned after two officers were killed in a fire on the Russian-built INS Sindhuratna during a training exercise at sea.

In August last year 18 naval crew were killed when the fully-armed Russian-built INS Sindhurakshak exploded in flames and sank in a military shipyard in Mumbai.

The disaster was thought to be the Indian navy's worst since the sinking of a frigate by a Pakistani submarine in 1971.

Last month another submarine, INS Sindhughosh, ran aground while returning to Mumbai harbour. No loss of life or damage was reported.

In December, the INS Talwar, a Russian-built stealth frigate, slammed into a trawler off India's west coast, sinking the boat and throwing 27 fishermen into the sea. All of the fishermen were rescued.

In February 2010 the Sindhurakshak suffered a fire while docked in Visakhapatnam city in southern India, killing a 24-year-old sailor.

Source: Agencies