On 17 July during operations aboard container ship Maersk Kinloss at the Port of Ilyichevsk, Ukraine, a single container under deck was found to have buckled, forcing its top open.
The container in question was loaded with aluminum phosphide and was stowed - in full compliance with the International Maritime Dangerous Cargo Code - in the hold just beneath a hatch to keep its contents dry.
Initial investigations by an independent surveyor suggest the cargo and container damage owed to humidity when packing the aluminium phosphide in air tight cans.
“Most probably water and/or damp air have come to contact with the cargo during the container stuffing at loading port which (with influence of high temperature of ambient air during the voyage) caused further phosphine forming and the container’s damage with the gas high pressure,” the consultants found in their preliminary report.
Contents of the burst container appear to have been damaged by a chemical reaction, but there was no evidence of fire damage and smoke alarms were never activated during the voyage.
Neither oxidiser nor fluoric acid was stowed in Maersk Kinloss’s cargo hold, as some media has suggested.
In addition, it is worth noting:
The contents of the container have since been removed and packed in bags and placed on deck to await discharge
The container itself has been dismantled, cut up and also placed in bags on deck for removal.
Two adjacent containers were squeezed but their contents were not damaged. The ship sustained no damage.
Maersk Kinloss is awaiting final port clearance from customs and port authorities.