The Jordanian authorities announced that they had the situation under control after the fall of a container followed by a leak of toxic gas which led to the death of more than a dozen people, while more than 250 others were injured.
The Jordanian authorities announced on June 28 that the situation was under control in the port of Aqaba, the day after the death of 13 people after the fall of a container from which escaped chlorine, a toxic gas. Aqaba, one of the main ports on the Red Sea, is both a major seaside resort and the only seaport in the Hashemite Kingdom through which most Jordanian imports and exports pass.
“The situation in Aqaba is now under control,” Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh said. According to a latest official report, 13 people, including eight Jordanians and four Asians, died in the accident. More than 250 people were injured, of whom 123 are still hospitalized. Present at the port, located in the south of Jordan, Bicher al-Khasawneh affirmed on public television that there were no fears that the gas could reach residential areas. “But we have decided to isolate the sector for a few more hours as a precaution,” he added.
He indicated that he had instructed the Minister of the Interior, General Mazen al-Faraya, to lead the investigation into this “regrettable” tragedy, and to guarantee “all means to ensure the total safety of employees in the ports and all the necessary precautions in place of hazardous materials”. According to the general, port activities must resume on June 28, with the exception of those at pier 4 where the accident took place, in order to ensure “that the place is completely safe”.
In the afternoon of June 27, a chlorine leak occurred at the port after a container containing liquid gas fell, according to the government crisis unit. Images published by Al-Mamlaka public television show a crane carrying the container, before dropping it above the boat. After the shock, a thick yellow cloud escapes instantly, while people try to flee.
According to the former director of the company in charge of the management of the port, some twenty containers of liquefied gas “containing a high percentage of chlorine” were to be loaded on the boat. Deputy chief of the Aqaba region port authority, Haj Hassan, said a “line moving a container containing a toxic substance broke causing the vessel to fall and leak. poisonous substance”. According to an official from the local tourism and environmental authority, Nidal al-Majali, the almost non-existent wind helped prevent any distant spread of the gas. Aqaba’s director of health, Jamal Obeidat, had called on residents of the city on June 27 to “stay at home and close the windows as a precaution”.