Chemical cargo catches fire in Thai port, three piers closed

25 May 2019 - 16:04 By Reuters
Smoke rises from a KMTC cargo ship after it caught on fire at the Laem Chabang port, Chonburi province, Thailand May 25, 2019 in this still image take from social media video.
Smoke rises from a KMTC cargo ship after it caught on fire at the Laem Chabang port, Chonburi province, Thailand May 25, 2019 in this still image take from social media video.
Image: Mbah Ambyah via REUTERS

Flames ripped through a load of cargo including chemicals in Thailand's eastern Laem Chabang port on Saturday, forcing officials to evacuate workers and temporarily close three piers, authorities said.

More than 130 people were taken to hospital, some complaining of irritation in the eyes and throat, others of a burning sensation on the skin, but there were no major injuries, according to the Ministry of Public Health.

Red flames and clouds of thick black and white smoke poured out of the South Korean container ship KMTC Hongkong Co. through the morning and early afternoon at pier A2, port director Yuthana Mokkao told Reuters.

Initial checks showed the blaze broke out in a load of cargo containing the chemical calcium hypochlorite, he said. "We closed the pier where the fire broke out and two others that were affected by the fire."

The fire at the port in the industrial Chonburi province, east of Bangkok, had now been contained and officials were looking for the cause, he added.  

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