Mis-declared dangerous cargo possible cause of KMTC Hong Kong fire

Photo credit: Reuters

Port Authority Director of Thailand, Kamolsak Phromprayoon, has reported that the fire onboard the ‘KMTC Hong Kong’ containership was due to mis-declared chemical cargoes of calcium hypochlorite and chlorinated paraffin wax.

More than 130 people were transferred to hospital after an explosion and fire onboard the South Korean container ship ‘KMTC Hong Kong’ while berthed in Thailand’s eastern Laem Chabang port.

The port Authority inspected 35 containers at the centre of the blaze and more than half of them contained chemical products.

According to local media reports Mr Phromprayoon and his team discovered 18 boxes that contained chemical cargoes. In the meantime, those investigating the containers found that thirteen containers had cargoes of calcium hypochlorite and five had cargoes of chlorinated paraffin. The shippers had not declared the dangerous cargoes and on Saturday it was believed the cargoes were dolls.

According to the Nation, as the fire was caused by the burning of chemicals, the nearby communities around Laem Chabang Seaport had earlier reported on Saturday that they suffered from noxious smoke and acidic ashes raining down over their villages triggering the evacuation of many communities around the seaport.

The Pollution Control Department (PCD) announced that the threat from hazardous air pollution caused by the burning of chemicals had receded to safe levels.

Concluding, Mr Phromprayoon commented to the Nation, “Generally, every shipment of toxic chemicals, including transferring of shipment, has to be declared before they enter our ports. But as the ship’s company had not declared these toxic chemicals, it would be the duty of the shipping company to claim the damage from the shipment’s owners.”

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