Update 2: Tianjin Port Disaster Claims 112 Lives, 95 Missing
Rescue crews have found 112 bodies, with 95 people still missing, 85 of whom are firefighters, after two huge explosions leveled parts of the industrial area of China’s Port of Tianjin where dangerous chemicals and goods are stored late Wednesday night, Xinhua news agency reports.
24 victims have been identified thus far, rescue coordinators said at a Sunday press conference. Out of the 85 missing firefighters, 13 are in active service, and 72 are employed by Tianjin Port Group Co.
The officials also acknowledged the presence of toxic materials at the explosion site, stating that there is no threat to the public outside the two-kilometer evacuation zone.
722 people have been hospitalized thus far, 58 of which are in critical condition.
The initial blast reportedly erupted at a warehouse owned by Tianjin Dongjiang Port Rui Hai International Logistics, a storage and distribution center of dangerous goods in the Port of Tianjin. The center includes two warehouses, one of them being located next to an office block.
Significant areas of the port, the tenth largest in the world, have been destroyed by the explosions and the subsequent fires.
The office buildings and warehouses of several shipping companies, including China Offshore Oil Engineering, Cosco Shipping, and Sinotrans have been damaged by the explosions and the fire.
The blasts reportedly spread to the port’s vehicle storage area, where around 6,000 new cars have been destroyed.
The Shanghai-listed company Tianjin Port Holdings on August 13 said its port work and operations resumed as normal after the blast.
However, all chemical, oil, and gas terminals at Tianjin port have closed following the explosions, meaning that operations for these types of cargo and vessels have been suspended. The north part of the Tianjin port has been temporarily closed as well.
The domestic media, citing the Tianjin Transportation Committee, reported that operations for dangerous cargoes have been prohibited. The operations include the ones related to dangerous containers export, dangerous liquid cargo import and export, as well as storage, packaging and devanning of containers with dangerous goods.
World Maritime News Staff