South African officials were forced to evacuate the bulk carrier NS Qingdao from the port of Durban and send it to a protected anchorage as it started releasing toxic fumes.
ccording to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa), NS Qingdao was discharging at the port of Durban when some of its chemical cargo became unstable because of contact with rain water. As a result, the cargo release toxic fumes.
After that, Samsa ordered the vessel to depart and head for a safe anchorage. NS Qingdao headed to St. Helena Bay, in order to ventilate its hatches offshore.
Samsa directed the vessel to sail to a protected anchorage under the escort of the tug Umkhuseli. The vessel has a full team of salvors, chemical experts, hazmat teams and other emergency personnel on board to manage the operation safely following defined emergency protocols
informed Capt Vernon Keller, Samsa’s acting COO.
He also added the owner of the vessel is cooperating with the authorities and has been very proactive in helping to contain the situation.
As for the cargo, it will be discharged into skips, chemically neutralized and landed ashore at an approved dumping site in a safe and controlled manner.
As of now, the vessel poses no immediate threat to the marine environment and humans.