Flammable Chemical Leak Closes Terminal at Port of Tacoma
The pier at Washington United Terminal at the Port of Tacoma in Washington was shut down for part of Tuesday while a container holding the flammable chlorobenzotrifluoride leaked from the Hyundai Oakland tanker ship in the early morning. At about 4am, dock crews unloading cargo from the tanker noticed a substance leaking from one of the 55-gallon drums and discovered it had spilled the dangerous chemical onto the hull of the ship, as well as the neighboring dock.
Once the leak was identified, the Washington United Terminal was evacuated for the Tacoma Fire Department’s HazMat Team to examine and clean up the spill.
Chlorobenzotrifluoride is known to irriate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system, in addition to its flammability. Crewmembers are being quarantined on the ship as a precaution, though there is no clear imminent danger to their health.
An environmental clean-up team was contracted by the terminal operator to decontaminate the affected area.
No injuries were reported, as well as no evidence of the chemical making its way to the water.