Chemical blast rocks Laem Chabang port

Chemical blast rocks Laem Chabang port

September 2, 2023

An explosion rocked Laem Chabang port on 29 August, after a container in the dangerous goods section in Thailand’s main container port caught fire that morning.

No one was hurt as 183 workers were evacuated, but six workers suffered breathing difficulties.

Health permanent secretary Opas Karnkawinpong said that the fire broke out around 10 am local time that day, adding that a container containing organic peroxides burst into flames. The organic peroxides, which are used to make polymers, were packed in 378 boxes, each weighing 18 kilos. Thai PBS World reported that an accumulation of heat in the container could have caused the explosion.

Firefighters brought the flames under control in 30 minutes and the incident did not affect shipping traffic around Laem Chabang.

Seventy-seven workers and residents in surrounding neighbourhoods were screened. N95 masks were distributed to 100 workers as strong odours continued emanating from the scene.

It is the second known fire incident involving dangerous goods in Laem Chabang.

On 25 May 2019, a major fire broke out on the 1,585 TEU KMTC Hong Kong while it was docked in Laem Chabang. It was later found that the ignition of calcium hypochlorite in 13 containers and chlorinated paraffin wax in five other containers had likely caused the blast. The cargoes had also not been declared as dangerous goods. KMTC Hong Kong was subsequently declared a total loss and scrapped.

Martina Li
Asia Correspodent

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