Explosion in Hazardous Materials Section Prompts Evacuation and Investigation

Laem Chabang port, one of Thailand’s largest and busiest, was shaken by a chemical explosion that occurred within a container storing organic peroxides, substances known for their potential explosiveness under specific conditions. The incident unfolded in the dangerous goods section of the port, designated for the storage of hazardous materials.

The explosion, which took place at approximately 10 am local time, triggered a swift response from firefighters who managed to promptly extinguish the resulting fire. While the situation was brought under control relatively quickly, six workers were treated for breathing difficulties, though fortunately, there were no reports of serious injuries.

In response to the explosion, a strong and unsettling odor spread throughout the vicinity. As a precautionary measure, residents in nearby neighborhoods were evacuated until authorities could assess the situation and confirm the absence of lingering dangers.

Authorities have initiated a thorough investigation into the incident to determine its cause and any lapses in safety procedures that may have contributed to the explosion. This marks the second fire-related incident involving dangerous goods at Laem Chabang port in recent years. In 2019, a significant fire erupted on a container ship docked at the port, caused by the ignition of calcium hypochlorite—a chemical commonly used in bleach production. Regrettably, the ship was declared a total loss in the aftermath of the blaze.

Laem Chabang Port, situated on Thailand’s eastern coast, approximately 160 kilometers south of Bangkok, plays a pivotal role in the nation’s trade and commerce. It handles a wide spectrum of cargo, ranging from containers to bulk shipments and oil.

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the inherent risks associated with the handling of dangerous goods, underlining the crucial importance of robust safety protocols for companies engaged in the transport and storage of such materials.

To mitigate the risks surrounding dangerous goods, companies should consider implementing the following safety precautions:

  1. Proper Labeling and Marking: Containers should be accurately labeled and marked to indicate their hazardous contents.
  2. Secure Storage: Containers must be stored in secure areas that are insulated from heat sources and potential ignition points.
  3. Employee Training: Workers responsible for handling dangerous goods should receive comprehensive training in safety procedures and protocols.
  4. Emergency Preparedness: Firms should have well-defined emergency response plans in place to address accidents swiftly and effectively.

By adhering to these safety measures, companies can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents involving dangerous goods, thereby safeguarding the welfare of their employees and the surrounding communities. As the investigation into the Laem Chabang incident unfolds, it underscores the imperative of prioritizing safety in the handling of hazardous materials within the logistics and shipping industry.