Calcium Hypochlorite suspected cause of APL Austria’s fire

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The suspected cause of the fire on board the Liberian cargo vessel APL Austria is a chemical known as “calcium hypochlorite”, the South African Maritime Safety Authority  said citing preliminary investigation findings.

According to ww.worldmaritimenews.com, the chemical was found stowed under deck in No.4 cargo hold, where the fire broke out.

Calcium hypochlorite is commonly used for sanitation and disinfection purposes ranging from public swimming pools, drinking water to domestic use.

Nevertheless, the presence of the chemical on board the vessel was somewhat mysterious as the vessel’s crew was “unaware of it as it was not declared as such” , according to Captain Daron Burgess, a Principal Officer at SAMSA southern region office in Port Elizabeth.

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Burgess stressed in a statement on Tuesday however that the final report by fire experts has not been released yet, so the cause cannot be confirmed.

The APL Austria – a 72 000 ton, 280m wide cargo vessel – had been some 30 nautical miles south west of Jeffreys Bay – about 50-70 kilometers west of Port Elizabeth – when it reported a fire on board at about 5pm on Sunday, 12 February 2017.

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