Ship chemical spill disaster averted: Shanghai maritime authorities

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Shanghai, March 29 (IANS) Shanghai’s maritime authorities said on Thursday they have contained a leak from a cargo ship and averted a possible disaster in the city.

The Shanghai Maritime Rescue Centre said it received a call on Wednesday night from a ship registered in the Marshall Islands, reporting inflammable fluid leaking from one of its containers and into the Yangshan Deep-water Port, south of Shanghai, Efe news agency reported.

The freighter carried 17.05 tonnes of cyclohexane, a colourless but highly flammable liquid with a strong odour.

Maritime emergency personnel arrived soon, stopped the leakage and drained the spilled fluid with sponges and rags.

They also conducted measures against fire and explosion during the operation.

The authorities explained that the non-volatile cyclohexane was insoluble in water, but that the liquid dripped mainly in the container and not into the sea.

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The ship’s crew said that a valve problem had caused the leak and that the cyclohexane was leaking at a rate of some 40 litres per hour.

The 304-metre long freighter weighs 73,943 tonnes and had 22 crew members, who were safe.

–IANS

and/ksk

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