On May 19th, 2015, the Vancouver Express reported indefinable odors onboard caused by unknown reasons. A day prior to the report, the ship had berthed at the Burchard Quay, Hamburg, as it came from Norfolk, USA, through Rotterdam.

vancouver express

Photo: Oleg

The Protection Guard’s environmental service officials came first to the scene along with a fire truck in order to examine the ship in an effort to determine the causes behind the strange occurrence. Subsequently they called for assistance additional task forces and special components of Hamburg’s fire brigade. The appointed teams installed appropriate precaution systems on the outside as preparation for a potential decontamination.

Wearing body protection, the fire squad went on board the vessel with an Environmental Protection Guard telescopic mast vehicle. The team was able to identify two tank containers as potential sources of the emissions, which had been loaded with valeric acid that is typically used when producing lubricating oils. They managed to detect a leak in one of the two containers, with the 2nd one being undamaged. Due to the fact that it was not possible to access the two containers directly, they had to be removed from the vessel with the use of gantry cranes and were then placed in a protective tray in order for the team to carry out further, more detailed examination procedures.

Due to final cargo hold measurements displaying an increased concentration level of pollutants in the air, it was decided to close and lock the ship’s entire cargo area. Officials pronounced a work ban, with all subsequent measures being carried out in coordination with the environmental authority, the water police, the vessel’s owner and the appointed cleaning firm.