5 thoughts on “Chinese Port Suffers Massive Explosion

  1. Early indications suggest improper firefighting techniques may have been a major causative or contributing factor, specifically, application of water to fight fire in the presence of calcium carbide, which reacts with water to produce acetylene, the explosion of which may have then triggered a secondary, larger, detonation of nearby ammonium nitrate.

    As, among other things, a retired professional firefighter, I can say that spraying water around unidentified chemical storage areas is often a Very Bad Thing. When these disasters occur, sometimes the chemicals were stored, handled or (un)labeled illegally or improperly, regulation or enforcement was inadequate or absent, or firefighter training, leadership, SOPs, or fire pre-planning and risk assessment were inferior, or, more commonly, there was some combination of these factors at work. See, e.g., the the West, TX explosion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Fertilizer_Company_explosion

    Ports and harbors are unique points for both concentration and risk exposure of vast quantities of hazardous materials, including toxic, highly flammable and explosive material with multiple potential combinations and reactions. Ports and harbors are also often adjacent to population centers.

    In my current professional role related to natural, CBRNE and disasters capable of producing mass casualties, in conjunction with my longstanding personal and non-professional interest in maritime affairs, I have deep concerns about the potential vulnerabilities of our nation’s ports and harbors.

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