During the loading of a storage tank filled with chlorine gas, a serious accident occurred on Monday at an important grain port in Jordan, probably as a result of a crane malfunction.
so. / (Reuters) A leak of toxic chlorine gas has killed at least 12 people at the Jordanian port of Aqaba, officials and state media confirmed on Monday (June 27). At least 251 people were also injured.
According to authorities, a crane malfunctioned while loading a storage tank. The tank filled with 25 tons of chlorine gas then fell onto the deck of a ship and caused an explosion.
A video posted on Jordan’s state-run television Twitter account shows a yellow gas cloud spreading rapidly and people fleeing from it. The chlorine gas was destined for transport to Djibouti.
— Jordan TV التلفزيون الأردني (@JrtvMedia) June 27, 2022
Chlorine is a widely used disinfectant and water purification agent. When inhaled, however, the gas turns into hydrochloric acid, which can cause internal burns and drowning as water is released in the lungs in response.
After the incident, Jordan’s grain elevators in Aqaba stopped working to allow inspection of the grain and a search for signs of contamination. However, maritime traffic in the ports of Aqaba continues, authorities said. At the time of the incident, no ships were being unloaded with grain, it said. The port of Aqaba, at the northern end of the Red Sea, has long been an important transit route for Iraqi imports and exports.
Prime Minister Hither al-Khasawneh arrived in Aqaba and went to a hospital where some of the injured were being treated, state television reported. Al-Khasawneh also formed an investigation team into the incident, which is headed by the interior minister, state television quoted the information minister as saying. Health Department officials said they expected only a handful of people to remain in hospital for treatment by Tuesday.