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LAEM CHABANG

Ship leaking chemical ordered away from port

Chon Buri - Butyl acrylate leak affects more than 100 people, ship told to move 10km away

IN A BID to control a chemical leak, officials have ordered a cargo ship to leave Laem Chabang Port immediately.

As of press time, the leak that sent more than 100 people to hospital was continuing, though it was under control.

Chon Buri Governor Komsan Ekachai said yesterday that the ship, Pearl River Bridge, was told to move 10 kilometres away from the coast to minimise the impact on local people.

"We have also called on the Port Authority of Thailand to take care of those affected," he said.

A container carrying the chemical butyl acrylate, which can have an adverse impact to health, apparently sprang a leak when it fell at around 9.30am yesterday.

The ship had arrived at 2.50am and the unloading of containers began at about 3am.

According to a source, the ship was carrying 19 tonnes of the chemical.

Odour from the chemical quickly began spreading to communities in Sri Racha district, with some residents developing nausea, nose irritation and other symptoms associated with this chemical. Several children were badly affected, and one student even lost consciousness.

As many as 106 people sought treatment in hospital.

To prevent the leak from causing any more harm, relevant officials have ordered that people living near the port be evacuated.

The ship has also been ordered away from the port and to anchor some 10 kilometres away. Officials are monitoring the air quality in the area.

Butyl acrylate is harmful to health, and if inhaled, it can cause irritation to the respiratory system, as well as irritate the skin and eyes, and cause a rash and nausea. Heavy exposure can affect the lungs and reproductive system.

Surinrat Sukrat, public-health chief in Chon Buri, said her agency had set up a centre offering assistance to people whose health was affected by the leak.

"The centre is now based at Laem Chabang Hospital," she said.

Somnuk Jongmeethavisin, a coordinator of the Friends of the East Network, also said the people living in the area should be evacuated.


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