Release of phosphine gas during discharge of fumigated maize cargo from general cargo vessel Arklow Meadow

Location: Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland.

Accident Investigation Report 21/2013

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened, safety lessons and recommendations made:

ArklowMeadowReport.pdf (1,468.14 kb)

Annexes (5,093.53 kb)


On 5 December 2012, a fumigated cargo of maize was being discharged from the general cargo vessel Arklow Meadow in Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland. The fumigant was still active; the fumigant retainers that had been removed from the cargo holds started to smoke. Cargo operations were immediately stopped and the ship’s crew evacuated to the quayside. The local fire brigade, who were quickly on the scene, established a 50 metre cordon around the vessel. Houses and retail premises surrounding the port area were also evacuated by the police as a precautionary measure.

Eight crew and a stevedore were taken to hospital for observation and decontamination.

Recovered retainers were neutralised by immersing them in water and it took 5 days for the level of phosphine gas in the vessel’s cargo holds to reduce to a safe level.

Published: 3 October 2013

Published 23 January 2015