1973 - Amalie Essberger

Year 1973
Vessel Amalie Essberger
Location Port of Gothenburg, Sweden
Cargo type Bulk
Chemicals PHENOL molten

Summary

On January 13, 1973, the German tank vessel Amalie Essberger was unloading molten phenol in the port of Gothenburg. The phenol (Class 6; poisonous liquid or solid ;melting point +55°C; TLV 5 ppm ;IDLH 250 ppm) was loaded into a cistern which suddenly ruptured , probably due to overpressure. A total of 400 tonnes of phenol leaked down on the quay and into the water.
The fire department was alerted and by the time they arrived a large gas cloud was visible above the quay. The company personnel whom were fully equipped with chemical resistant clothing had already started the recovering of the phenol on the quay. Much of the phenol, especially that in the water, had soon solidified in the cool weather. Phenol solidifies at +40°C and the temperature outside was around 0°C. This meant that the evaporation soon stopped and therefore no cooling of the phenol had to be done. However, a safety zone of 50 m was set up and the incoming vessels were redirected. Recovering of the phenol started and could be done quite easily as the phenol had solidified. Later on, measurements in the water showed indications of phenol and divers searching the area found large stacks of solidified phenol on the bottom. These could easily be recovered by a simple dredging equipment. Measurements taken after the incident showed no signs of biological damage to the marine fauna.

Narrative

On January 13, 1973, the German tank vessel Amalie Essberger was unloading molten phenol in the port of Gothenburg. The phenol (Class 6; poisonous liquid or solid ;melting point +55°C; TLV 5 ppm ;IDLH 250 ppm) was loaded into a cistern which suddenly ruptured , probably due to overpressure. A total of 400 tonnes of phenol leaked down on the quay and into the water.
The fire department was alerted and by the time they arrived a large gas cloud was visible above the quay. The company personnel whom were fully equipped with chemical resistant clothing had already started the recovering of the phenol on the quay. Much of the phenol, especially that in the water, had soon solidified in the cool weather. Phenol solidifies at +40°C and the temperature outside was around 0°C. This meant that the evaporation soon stopped and therefore no cooling of the phenol had to be done. However, a safety zone of 50 m was set up and the incoming vessels were redirected. Recovering of the phenol started and could be done quite easily as the phenol had solidified. Later on, measurements in the water showed indications of phenol and divers searching the area found large stacks of solidified phenol on the bottom. These could easily be recovered by a simple dredging equipment. Measurements taken after the incident showed no signs of biological damage to the marine fauna.

Resume

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) was used by the emergency responders.
A safety zone of 50 m was set up and the incoming vessels were redirected.
Due to solidification of phenol at ambient temperature at the time of the accident, its recovery from the bottom of the port area was achieved by using simple dredging equipment .
The response was done very efficiently. This was much due to valuable information from a similar accident that had happened in Denmark. No injuries were reported and no damage was done to the environment, which marks the whole operation as a success.

last modified 2020-12-09T12:12:20+00:00