News 04 Sep, 2015

USA - Tianjin Explosions and Vessels Bound for the United States

Following the explosions in the Chinese port of Tianjin in August 2015, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) has issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) concerning “Tianjin, China Explosions and Precautions for Possible Contamination”.

The MSIB addresses the possibility that vessels and/or cargo that were in Tianjin at the time of the explosions, or cargo that has since been loaded on to vessels at that port, may have been exposed to potentially hazardous chemical residues, ash or other debris.  The USCG is concerned that such residues may be brought into the United States, possibly putting those involved in handling the cargo at risk.

Since any potentially hazardous chemical residues on exposed decks and cargo will almost certainly have been removed by the wind, rain, spray and seas on deck during the passage from China to the United States, the USCG is primarily concerned with any residues, ash or debris that may be present within internal spaces such as on top of cargo inside the holds, on surfaces within the cargo spaces and in other compartments that were open at the time of the explosions.

If a vessel was in Tianjin when the explosions occurred or has subsequently loaded cargo at Tianjin and is also due to call at a US port, the operators are required to report any hazardous conditions to the nearest USCG Captain of the Port (COTP) immediately. Similarly, any signs of crew ill health or the discovery of unknown substances or residues which could give rise to hazardous conditions should be reported to the nearest COTP prior to arrival. The COTP will then devise a suitable action plan to investigate and deal with the potential risk, endeavouring to minimise any delays.

To date there have been no reports of vessels arriving in the US with potentially hazardous residues, ash or debris on board.

Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention department.