Hazardous Materials Carriage: The history of vessel safety standards

The history of hazardous materials regulations and shipping has been marked by loss of life and tragedy. This article relates a number of incidents and accidents involving hazardous materials shipping in which many lives were lost and maimed. Included are: (1) the Halifax explosion in December 1917 - a collision of a French freighter carrying explosive munitions with a Norwegian steamship (2000 lives lost, 9,000 injuries); (2) the Port Chicago disaster, July 17, 1944 - an explosion of a ship,while docked, carrying explosive munitions (320 fatalities, 390 injuries). The explosion occurred during the loading of the munitions, and led to a mutiny of navy personnel.; (3) Texas City disaster, April 16, 1947 - a French ship loaded with industrial grade ammonium nitrate, exploded while docked in the Port of Texas City, Texas. The initial explosion destroyed almost 1,000 buildings and sparked fires and secondary explosions on other ships and on waterfront refineries (600 fatalities, 3,500 injuries).; (4) Torrey Canyon Oil disaster, March 18, 1967 - a supertanker spilled 120,000 tons of crude oil when it ran aground off the coast of England; (5) Exxon Valdez, March 24, 1989 - oil spill of over 11 million gallons of crude oil, in Prince William Sound, Alaska. All of these incidents led to changes in tank vessel regulations, U.S. Coast Guard authority, and U.S. and International hazardous materials safety and shipping standards.


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  • Accession Number: 01457009
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 6 2012 12:10PM