Posted on May 29, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
A fire erupted onboard the South Korean-flagged Containership, KMTC HONGKONG during the morning hours of May the 24th while it was berthed at Laem Chabang, Thailand.
The incident occurred at approximately 06:45 am LT. According to initial reports, the fire originated from a series of containers that were filled with hazardous chemicals.
Reportedly, the chemicals in the containers spread through the air due to the fire, causing injuries to everyone near the scene of the accident.
It took the local fire department the better part of the day to manage and successfully put out the fire. At the end of the day, over 130 people had to be hospitalized with injuries ranging from sore eyes and throat to chemical burns & chemical poisoning.
Nearby communities, within a 15-kilometer radius of the scene had to be evacuated as ash started to rain down after the initial blast.
An inspection of the vessel after the incident, revealed that out of the 35 containers in the centre of the blaze, 18 contained highly dangerous chemicals.
According to the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT), 13 of those containers were filled with calcium hypochlorite while 5 carried cargoes of chlorinated paraffin.
Allegedly, the shippers had not declared the dangerous cargo, leaving to the local Port Authority to think that the containers were used to ship dolls.
PAT will now be filing for damages in excess of $3.1 Million from the vessel operator. PAT alleges that the ship operator disregarded proper port procedures, which in turn caused extensive damage to the port, disrupting its operations and resulting in numerous injuries.