Exploding Containers Being Investigated

An explosion in a reefer container serviced by a repair yard last month in Quingdao, Vietnam has led to 82 such containers being shut down and quarantined. CMA CGM, a France-based container shipping group with U.S. headquarters in Norfolk, Va., issued a statement that all necessary instructions were given to its teams on land and at sea to ensure these containers were handled and stored in complete safety.

As an extra precaution, the CMA CGM Group is checking all containers that have undergone maintenance in Vietnam since January 1, 2011. This affects around 250 reefer containers. CMA CGM has hired experts to determine the cause of the problem. It is also working closely with other shipping companies affected by this problem to ensure that all necessary safety measures are taken.

Denmark’s Maersk also reported explosions in three of its containers. While both companies say the cause of the explosions remains a mystery, The Financial Times quoted Peter Smidt-Nielsen, general director of Maersk in Vietnam, as saying they may have been caused by contaminated gas that was put into the reefers’ cooling units in Vietnam between March 30 and April 25, when a number of containers were repaired at Ho Chi Minh City’s Saigon New Port.

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