Solid Waste & Recycling


Shipping container explosion linked to recycling facility

Containers at the Port of Los Angeles. (pPort of LA photo)

LOS ANGELES – On October 30, 2018 an export bound shipping container exploded inside a marine terminal storage area at the Port of Los Angeles. The Port has issued a statement saying that preliminary analysis by the Los Angeles Port Police Hazardous Materials Unit, Los Angeles Police Department Bomb Squad and United States Coast Guard indicates that a form of combustible fuel or other compound was ignited in the sealed container.

At 5:58 p.m. on October 30th, 2018, the Los Angeles Port Police received a call regarding a container explosion at the Evergreen Shipping terminal at the Port of Los Angeles. Unified Command was established with the Los Angeles Port Police, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, US Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, container terminal management and ILWU Labor representatives.

The investigation determined that a 40-foot container was delivered earlier in the day along with 11 other containers from a regional recycling facility.  The containers were slated for delivery to Taiwan.

The involved container was not marked as containing hazardous materials and the manifest indicated clean scrap iron or heavy melting scrap only.

No injuries were reported in the blast, which appeared to have shot debris onto a public road outside the terminal’s fence.

Local media reported that authorities believe it was an accident, not a deliberate act. “Scrap metals which contain some chemicals and some other agents possibly could have led to the explosion,” Los Angeles Port Police Deputy Chief Randy Allen told local media.

The remaining eleven containers were located, inspected and determined to be compliant by LA Port Police, LAPD Bomb Squad, US Coast Guard and CBP. The Los Angeles Port Police Hazardous Materials Unit is conducting a thorough investigation. Results will be reported back the Harbor Commission and public.

Procedures at the recycling facility will be reviewed by the Los Angeles Port Police, and the US Coast Guard will review their Facility Security Plan for which they have jurisdiction.

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