Friday, October 29, 2021

A bad day on a ship

As a Canadian Coast Guard surveillance Dash 8-100 aircraft circled overhead Saturday afternoon, smoke billowed from the ship and radio communications indicated a fire spreading out of the crew’s control. A CCG officer told the ship’s radio operator, citing the view from the surveillance aircraft overhead, that “flame is appearing on the inside rows (of containers). The crew is focusing on the outside containers. The flame is headed toward the interior. Over.” 
The radio operator replied that about six containers were now on fire and that the crew was “trying to extinguish them with maximum water.”

However, shortly afterward, the Coast Guard informed the radio operator that the firefighting vessels sent to help the smoking ship “had been advised not to deploy any water” to fight the fire on board due to the nature of the hazardous material.

Canadian Coast Guard spokesperson Michelle Imbeau identified that as potassium amyl xanthate, a pale-yellow powder widely used in the mining industry. The ship’s manifest indicates that the containers held 57 tons of it.

According to safety information about this chemical, exposure to heat and moisture may cause decomposition “to release flammable, explosive and poisonous” carbon disulfide vapors.

Imbeau said that of the hundreds of containers piled on the ship’s deck, only four contained this combustible material, two of which fell in the ocean while two were damaged but remained on deck and started the fire. 
This is basically any industrial chemical shipper/purchaser's nightmare. Most of the time, it's "I worry that the package will break open on the truck" and not "oh dear, the container is burning on the ship", but quantity has a quality of its own, I guess. I didn't know this material was used for floatation in mining - guessing the rates to transport this stuff and insure the shipments just went up...

No comments:

Post a Comment

looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20