On 15th July 2021, a container ship “Cap San Lorenzo” unloaded 1,000 tons of potentially explosive chemical, ammonium nitrate, at the Port of Bremerhaven. The ship was supposed to unload cargo at Hamburg but because of strong objections from port authorities, this 333-meter-long container ship had to leave port without discharging cargo. The Port of Hamburg has a regulation that permits only 500 tons of ammonium nitrate to be carried as cargo. Cap San Lorenzo sailed out of Hamburg and finally arrived in Bremerhaven where there is no such limitation, and all the 40 containers carrying 25 tons of ammonium nitrate each, were unloaded. After discharging the vessel left for Brazil.
The spokesman of Bremerhaven Port said that it was nothing special for them to handle such dangerous chemicals in this amount as the port regulations cover the handling of ammonium nitrate. Shipowner Hamburg Sud Shipping Company has said that their vessel arriving with double the permissible limit of ammonium nitrate at Hamburg, was an accident. The Association of German Shipowners however said that ammonium nitrate is a dangerous chemical and it can explode when contaminated with organic material.
Ammonium nitrate is used for manufacturing fertilizer and explosives. Last year, a massive quantity of ammonium nitrate stored in the port facility of Beirut had exploded. Killing 190 people, the explosion left the Lebanese capital devastated and a large part of the port was lost. Investigation revealed that the chemical was stored very poorly which led to the explosion.
The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of News2Sea.
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