Cooling down: Chemical accident in Mannheim: Container is opened

The container is to be opened this Wednesday, the contents of which caused a chemical accident in the port of Mannheim.

Cooling down: Chemical accident in Mannheim: Container is opened

The container is to be opened this Wednesday, the contents of which caused a chemical accident in the port of Mannheim. "We are confident that we will be able to open the container in the course of tomorrow," said the Mayor of Mannheim, Christian Specht (CDU), on Tuesday. After more than a week, the container had cooled down so that it could be salvaged without any major reactions. Probes would have measured temperature and sulfur dioxide; a mini camera gave an impression of the situation in the container with almost 200 barrels. "All of this has enabled us to put our rescue concept into practice," said Specht. The maneuver, which is estimated to take two or three days, poses no danger to local residents.

Toxic fumes escaped from the container intended for Turkey with a bleach for textiles from the chemical company BASF on Tuesday last week. When fighting the fire and the gases, 17 people were slightly injured. After the rescue, the cause of the leak should be clarified.

Hydrosulfite is harmless if handled with care. However, it is classified as dangerous goods due to the risk of self-ignition with release of sulfur dioxide and sulfur. According to current knowledge, such a self-ignition has probably expired.

For salvage, each barrel is grasped with a telescopic arm and taken to the so-called sighting area, where specialists and investigators examine it. Once this is completed, the barrels are prepared for safe transport. Specht emphasized that the securing of the barrels was closely accompanied by a complete fire engine from the fire brigade. If chemical reactions occur, 10,000 liters of water are immediately available. In an emergency, a hood can be placed over a drum with chemicals that are still reactive. BASF will dispose of the barrels properly.

In the event that the hydrosulfite reacts again, the emergency services responsible have defined a safety zone of 100 meters around the container. In this case, the city of Mannheim will trigger the siren alarm for the affected area. No traffic restrictions are planned during the time for the salvage of the barrels.

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