The incident

Smoke was seen coming from a 20’ freight container on the deck of a vessel. The smoke was caused by remnants of used epoxy which nearly caught fire.

When the container was opened by the vessel’s fire-fighting team, they found the smoke coming from a number of metal cans containing left over epoxy.


Probable causes

  • When the mixed epoxy containers were put back into the container, they were stored near each other, which meant that the excess heat generated as the epoxy cured, could not be dissipated.
  • The freight container was badly ventilated and not suitable for storage of chemicals.


Lessons learned 

  • Chemical storage should always be in accordance with any local regulations;
  • Each chemical storage area should have a specific and separate risk assessment.


  • Store epoxy leftovers in metal cans and in small quantities (maximum 2 litres) to avoid the build-up of excessive heat;
  • Place cans on a metal drip tray in a well-ventilated area;
  • Keep storage area free of any flammable materials;
  • Residual epoxy mixture should be observed frequently until the material has cooled down;
  • During this curing process, CO2 and water fire extinguishers should be present.


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