The Maritime and Port Bureau, MOTC, stated today (August 13) that as the warehouse explosion at the Port of Beirut has sparked national concern over the storage of dangerous goods in port areas across Taiwan, the Maritime and Port Bureau has launched special joint supervisions as well as disaster preparedness drills. In the future, the Maritime and Port Bureau will continue to supervise operators' implementation of dangerous goods storage management plans and related regulations, and advocate the importance of safe operations with operators engaged in the handling and storage of dangerous goods at various ports.
The Maritime and Port Bureau said that ammonium nitrate, the substance that caused the explosion in the Port of Beirut warehouse, is classified as Class 5.1 Dangerous Goods according to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code). The substance is mostly stored and shipped in containers, therefore port handling location and quantity are subject to dynamic change depending on import, export and re-export statuses. The other storage option entails setting up a warehouse for dangerous goods to store the ammonium nitrate. In order to confirm whether the container terminals and warehouses storing ammonium nitrate in the port area are in compliance with the relevant regulations, the Maritime and Port Bureau set up a special joint supervisory team with the port operators and the Port of Taichung Fire Department today (August 13). In the morning, the joint supervisory team supervised two container terminals at the Port of Taichung, including Wan Hai and Evergreen; in the afternoon, the team supervised a warehouse for storing ammonium nitrate operated by the gas company Linde LienHwa. In addition, a disaster preparedness drill will be held on September 3 with the relevant units.
The Maritime and Port Bureau further pointed out that according to the Commercial Port Law, dangerous goods management companies in the port area must submit storage management plans in accordance with regulations. Port operators are required to set up dangerous goods zones, highly hazardous goods management measures, disaster prevention and rescue plans, disaster prevention drills, and disaster response plans. The Maritime and Port Bureau will provide joint dangerous goods supervision and operator education and training, while the competent authority for dangerous goods (ammonium nitrate is under the jurisdiction of the National Fire Agency) will conduct management and inspection of storage sites in accordance with relevant regulations. The Port of Taichung Fire Department has currently in its capacity as the competent authority already conducted a safety inspection of the ammonium nitrate storage sites at the port on August 6, 2020 with all sites passing the inspection.
The Maritime and Port Bureau stresses that in addition to the joint supervision that has just been carried out, it will continue to supervise operators to properly implement their dangerous goods storage management plans and related regulations, as well as strengthen safety promotion for operators engaged in dangerous goods handling and storage in port areas. Currently, the "Dangerous Goods Operation Manual" is being drafted in accordance with the IMDG Code, and will be completed and incorporated into the legal system by the end of 2020. In addition, a complete curriculum for dangerous goods operators has been completed and training will continue to be provided.
Contact person: Section Chief Chen Hui-Ling, Port Affairs Division
Contact number: 02-8978-6291