Toxic Chemical Clean Up Continues

Thursday, June 22, 2006
Reports indicate that owners of a container ship which is leaking a toxic chemical may face prosecution as investigations continue into how the dangerous substance became exposed. Emergency Services were continuing to remove the substance from the Kota Pahlawan which was forced to dock in Brisbane, Australia. The fire brigade boarded the Liberian container ship off Caloundra to make sure the vessel was safe. They conducted gas and heat testing on the container itself, and sealed it, before allowing the ship to continue to Brisbane. The chemical, Xanthate - a powder used in the mining industry - is safe when dry. But it had become wet, giving off a potentially explosive toxic gas. As the Kota Pahlawan prepared to berth at Patricks Wharf in Brisbane water police placed an exclusion zone around the ship. None of the 19 crew were affected by the gas which can cause skin irritations, blistering and injure the respiratory system. Authorities reported that there were eight containers on board the vessel which were holding the chemical - all of which will have to be checked before it is allowed to leave. Source: News7

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