25 injured in containership fire and explosion at Laem Chabang docks
A CHEMICAL fire and explosion occured aboard the 1,585-TEU KMTC Hongkong while docked at Thailand's Laem Chabang port, leaving at least 25 injured
A CHEMICAL fire and explosion occured aboard the 1,585-TEU KMTC Hongkong while docked at Thailand's Laem Chabang port, leaving at least 25 injured.
Three piers at the port were affected by heavy smoke, and some reports indicate that as many as 133 people were taken to hospital as a result of the blast and chemical fire aboard the South Korean vessel.
Some suffered smoke inhalation and others shrapnel wounds from container debris. The fire is believed to have broken out in a load of calcium hypochlorite.
This chemical is a form of chlorine that could be used as a disinfectant by some ballast water treatment system, noted Fort Lauderdale's Maritime Executive.
This is not the first time that calcium hypochlorite has been implicated in a marine casualty. Well-publicised instances date back to at least the early 1990s, and in recent years, misdeclared calcium hypochlorite was responsible for fires on Charlotte Maersk, Maersk Seoul, Maersk Londrina, Barzan, Al Ula, Hanjin Green Earth, Cape Moreton and APL Austria, according to the Standard P&I Club.
According to the Guidelines for the Carriage of Calcium Hypochlorite in Containers, it is estimated that global production of calcium hypochlorite for domestic and export markets is about 400,000 tonnes per year.
Laem Chabang Port is Thailand's main port and consists of seven box terminals, a multipurpose terminal, a ro-ro terminal a mixed ro-pax terminal and a general cargo terminal.
The port handled approximately 7.67 million TEU in 2017, of which about 3.75 million TEU were import boxes (49 per cent) and 3.92 million TEU were export boxes. About 3.75 million TEU were handled by international cargo vessels. The port's international container terminal handled 13,313 ship calls.