Chemical Spill in Philippine Port Poisons Seafarers with Acid Exposure

A chemical spill accident in a Cebu port affected seafarers.
A chemical spill accident in a Cebu port affected seafarers. (Kaisersibi/WikimediaCommons)

Due to a chemical spill accident, over 20 crew members were poisoned after getting exposed to sulphuric acid.

Accidental Chemical Spill on the Port

On Saturday, an accident occurred in the port of Cebu exposing more than 20 seafarers to a dangerous chemical. Emergency services brought the seafarers to the hospital, especially those who experienced nausea and vomiting. Cokaliong Shipping Lines ferry Captain Ervin Lumbab was among those affected.

“The chemical was bound for Calbayog [in Samar]. It was put on a forklift, but unfortunately, it suddenly fell,” said Jessie Nieves, the ship’s second officer.

Cebu City Senior Fire Officer Wendell Villanueva said Cebu City port was commanded and controlled by the Bureau of Fire Protection. The trapped passengers in the vessel were rescued and safely evacuated. Like the affected seafarers, they were given immediate medical attention.

Firefighters rescued five crew members from the RORO ferry Filipinas Surigao del Norte. The chemical spill accident occurred while the crew was loading 20 chlorine tanks. During the process, one tank fell and hit another.

What is Sulphuric Acid?

Sulfuric acid is an extremely corrosive and potent mineral acid. Also referred to as oil of vitriol or battery acid. It’s a colourless, dense, and oily liquid when pure. This acid is an important industrial chemical utilised in a vast array of applications, including chemical manufacturing, metallurgy, electrolytes in lead-acid batteries, and textile and paper industries. It’s also used in laboratories and pH Adjustment.

The chemical consists of hydrogen (H), sulfur (S), and oxygen (O) atoms. It must be handled with utmost care because of its extremely corrosive properties. When diluted, sulfuric acid can cause significant chemical burns and can cause death if inhaled or ingested.