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Laurent Aprin, Laura Cotte, Stéphane Le Floch, Sébastien Legrand, and Ludovic Lepers (2021)

D2.1 - Literature review on past accident

ARMINES, MANIFESTS project report(D2.1).

Maritime transport of Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS) has increased for 20 years, involving the risk of major pollution accidents with potentially more hazardous than oil. Chemicals may involve long-term environmental effects and the risks for public safety can be more severe for chemical releases (European Maritime Safety Agency [EMSA], 2007). Approximately 2,000 chemicals are transported by sea and only a few hundred chemicals are transported in bulk, but it represents the main volume of the chemical trade (Purnell, 2009). Alongside the expansion of chemicals transported at sea, incidents involving chemical tankers increased accordingly. Still, information on past and more recent incidents is not easily available. Furthermore, in the case of marine accident involving HNS, spill response is difficult due to the chemicals spilled, particularly when gas or volatile substances are released. The vapour cloud created can be toxic, flammable or explosive and there is a necessity to protect the crew, the population nearby as well as the environment and the stakeholders involved in marine pollution response. As an example, Figure 1 shows a picture of the explosion which occurred in September 2019 in the Ulsan harbour, South Korea. This explosion is the consequence of a styrene monomer leak on the chemical tanker Stolt Groenland that led to a massive explosion with fireball and mushroom cloud. The present report is a literature review on past accidents that have induced the formation of a toxic, flammable or explosive gas cloud. The information gathered will allow better identification of 1) the categories of chemicals most involved; 2) the main risks generated by the gas cloud dispersion in the air and 3) the consequences of a chemical slick on fire at the water surface as well as the hazard due to a vapour cloud explosion. This work is part of WP2: Enhancing knowledge and data on gases and evaporators of the MANIFESTS program (Managing risks and impacts from evaporating and gaseous substances to population safety) that studies risks associated to accidental chemical spills in the marine environment. The aim of this WP is to contribute to a better prediction of the consequences of vapour clouds due to marine accidents. This would facilitate the intervention of marine pollution organisms and would also help to protect population nearby, as we would know precisely where the dangerous area is.
Report, Open Access, PDF available