A Review of the Aqaba Bay Chlorine Incident

On 27 June 2022, a release of chlorine caused the deaths of thirteen people at the port facilities in Aqaba, Jordan. The release occurred when a large 25 tonne vessel of liquefied chlorine gas was being loaded by crane to a ship in Aqaba port.

Chlorine is widely used for chemical processes such as carbon tetrachloride, glycols, and other organic compounds for the manufacture of plastics, dyes, and synthetic rubber. Additionally, chlorine is used to sterilize water and wastes, and as a bleaching agent for paper or textiles.

During the loading operation, a cable snapped causing the vessel to drop and catastrophically fail, immediately discharging the full 25 tonne inventory which rapidly vaporized. In addition to the 13 fatalities due to toxic inhalation of chlorine, over 250 people were also injured as the cloud spread. Remarkably, the incident was captured on video, and widely shared on social media.

This presentation discusses the hazards of chlorine, the events surrounding the incident, as well as the root causes and contributing factors. Consequence modeling is used to replicate the incident; and official conclusions and recommendations are reviewed. The importance of human factors risk management, and the severe consequences of complacence are highlighted, with additional recommendations provided by the authors.

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