The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has expressed reluctance to take hydrogen peroxide from Bangladesh over safety issues and its own yard capacity, and asked Bangladesh to limit shipments of this hazardous chemical.
Syed Mohammad Arif, president of the Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association, acknowledged that they had received a letter in this regard on 9 June.
"Singapore police consider hydrogen peroxide as an explosive substance and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore can store a certain amount of it as per the licence approved by the Singapore police. A sudden increase in supply [of hydrogen peroxide] has increased its stockpile at the port. Therefore, Singapore will handle limited shipments of hydrogen peroxide," he said.
Usually, these containers are kept in Singapore from where they are sent to the main destination by mother vessels, he added.
Mohammad Arif said, "We have learned that there are more than 100 containers of hydrogen peroxide for export in four more private ICDs in Chattogram. The import and export of hydrogen peroxide will not be stopped as it is an industrial raw material. But after the explosion, there was a panic. Temporarily, the captains of various ships of the main line operator and port authorities do not want to carry the product. Hopefully, the issue will be resolved soon."
Earlier, 46 people, including fire service personnel, were killed and more than 200 injured in a fire that broke out at the BM Container Depot in Sitakunda, Chattogram on 4 June. It is believed that the source of the explosion was hydrogen peroxide in the depot.