Multiple international shipping agencies are conducting a comprehensive review of refrigerated containers processed at a Vietnam port, the Pacific Maritime Association said in a statement, after some units exploded, reportedly killing two mechanics in Vietnam and one in Brazil.
Besides the inherent risk for longshoremen -- who in Oakland, Calif., have even refused to move containers processed in Vietnam -- industry workers expressed concern for the general public once these faulty containers, known as "reefers," are unloaded and shipped out on trucks and freight trains.
“We don’t want this reefer going down the road and exploding next to a mom and her kids,” Chris Peeler, a member of the Labor Relations Committee of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, local 19 in Seattle, told KING5.com.
The station reported that authorities think the containers have been contaminated with bad coolant, which can become explosive when exposed to air.
The refrigeration units being segregated were processed at the Port of Kat Lai in Vietnam, the Pacific Maritime Association statement said. Any unit that was transported through Vietnam is being flagged upon arrival in at U.S. ports on the West Coast.
Chris O’Neil, a commander from the U.S. Coast Guard, said the the guard is working with the shipping industry to identify containers in inventory that dates back months. He could not speculate how many containers went through Vietnam ports during that time.
At the Port of Oakland shutdown two of its seven terminals Tuesday due to concern about several ocean vessels that had the potential to be carrying faulty containers, Robert Bernardo, a spokesman from the port said. The port was fully operating on Wednesday.
The Coast Guard said it is working closely with shippers and port officials around the nation to identify any potentially faulty containers, isolate them, and ensure they are rendered safe.
On Oct. 18, Maersk Line altered the World Shipping Council’s Safe Transport of Containers Working Group that refrigeration units have exploded in three instances for no apparent reason, The World Cargo News reported.
Material Handling & Logistics (Online) 3rd November 2011
Exploding Containers Being Investigated
An explosion in a reefer container serviced by a repair yard last month in Quingdao, Vietnam has led to 82 such containers being shut down and quarantined. CMA CGM, a France-based container shipping group with U.S. headquarters in Norfolk, Va., issued a statement that all necessary instructions were given to its teams on land and at sea to ensure these containers were handled and stored in complete safety.
As an extra precaution, the CMA CGM Group is checking all containers that have undergone maintenance in Vietnam since January 1, 2011. This affects around 250 reefer containers. CMA CGM has hired experts to determine the cause of the problem. It is also working closely with other shipping companies affected by this problem to ensure that all necessary safety measures are taken.
Denmark’s Maersk also reported explosions in three of its containers. While both companies say the cause of the explosions remains a mystery, The Financial Timesquoted Peter Smidt-Nielsen,general director of Maersk in Vietnam, as saying they may have been caused by contaminated gas that was put into the reefers’ cooling units in Vietnam between March 30 and April 25, when a number of containers were repaired at Ho Chi Minh City’s Saigon New Port.
source: cargo news Asia on line
follow the link for further information..http://www.maerskline.com/link/?page=news&path=/news/story_page/11/Reefer_Containers