Gas leak kills 13, injures several others at Jordan’s Aqaba Port

Screenshot of footage from a CCTV camera at Jordan's Port of Aqaba just moments before this same area of the port became engulfed in a cloud of toxic chlorine gas on June 27, 2022. The incident has left 13 people dead and over 250 others injured. (Photo: Elbadry)

Jordanian media reports that 13 people were killed while over 250 others suffered varying degrees of injury following a chlorine gas leak incident at the Red Sea port of Aqaba on Monday, June 27.

The incident occurred at around 15:15 local time after a steel cable snapped on a crane as it was loading a tank containing liquefied chlorine gas onto a nearby berthed vessel, the Hong Kong-registered deck cargo ship Forest 6.

The gas tank then fell to the pier, and the force of the impact resulted in the pressurised container being punctured and causing toxic chlorine gas to be released into the atmosphere.

CCTV camera footage of the incident shows the cargo ship and the surrounding pier being enveloped in bright yellow gas.

The incident prompted local authorities to order the evacuation of the port as well as a nearby beach while residents in some surrounding communities were advised to remain indoors.

Regular operations at the port resumed on Tuesday, June 28. However, further safety assessments are still being conducted at the incident site, where emergency responders have placed a 500-metre cordon to prevent unauthorised entry.

Port officials initially said that 11 people were killed as a direct result of the incident. The number of fatalities has since risen to 13.

Of the more than 250 people who suffered injuries caused by exposure to the toxic gas, 123 were still being treated in various hospitals as of Tuesday.

Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh, who said that the situation at the port “is now under control” following a recent visit, has ordered an investigation into the incident.

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