January 12, 2010

Port of Morehead City Closed By Explosives Incident

Everything between 4th St. and the Hwy 70 bridge to Radio Island has been shutdown in Morehead City, NC, in response to a hazmat emergency.

According to local media, nine containers carrying explosives were involved. No media are reporting precisely what the explosive material is, but Marine Corps EOD technicians from nearby Cherry Point are on-scene.

Is is SOP to call in a military EOD team for industrial accidents?

Update: I guess it is entirely appropriate to call in military EOD when the spilled explosives are PETN.

80 grams is enough to bring down an airliner. We don't yet know how large the containers were that were damaged, but since there are at least nine and this is an industrial shipment, a conservative guess is that we're probably talking a minimum of hundreds of pounds of the explosive.

As an aside, I wonder what kind of port security they have at Morehead. It seems to me such a shipment would make one heck of hijacking target.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 12, 2010 10:26 AM

Why wouldn't you want to call in a military grade EOD team to handle a HAZMAT situation? I would imagine they are much more competent and able to handle the situation than local authorities, especially given the magnitude.

Posted by: Barack Obama at January 12, 2010 10:55 AM

There's also the possibility that military supplies are stored / shipped through the port, so the military wants to keep their own stuff intact.

Posted by: SDN at January 12, 2010 11:27 AM

Exactly. People should give me the benefit of the doubt. I'm commander in chief and I might know just a little bit more than the average joe. Heck, I knew enough to stage one of the most brilliant photo-ops in Presidential history at West Point.

Posted by: Barack Obama at January 12, 2010 11:32 AM

If explosives, or explosive components are involved, then yes, EOD techs should be in charge. Most hazmat teams are not trained or familiar with explosives and how to handle or clean them up in case of an accident. Fire departments, and law enforcement are in the same boat, with most being trained to ID explosives, and to NOT handle them. EOD personnel are. Good to have the knowledge on site, if to do nothing more than to make sure cleanup workers do not intermix items that could explode if intermixed, or handled roughly.

Posted by: RJ at January 12, 2010 11:43 AM

Morehead is the primary embarkation port for Camp LeJeune. This is really just an unfortunate accident... might have some unaccustomed ice to deal with, or something like that.

It's routine to see military hardware around the Port, all the way from simple 6x6 trucks to LHA vessels.

Posted by: wpw at January 12, 2010 12:55 PM