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Environmentalists slam port authority over size of fine handed to KMTC

Local environmentalists in Thailand have slammed the paltry fine handed to South Korean owner KMTC, the operator of feeder containership KMTC Hongkong, which caught fire at Laem Chabang port last Saturday, The Nation reports.

Following the incident, the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT)  imposed an initial fine of just THB50,000 ($1,570) on KMTC, stressing that it is looking to file further damages with the owner.

Somnuck Jongmeewasin, a leading environmental expert from EEC Watch, said the fine ought to be far larger for bringing undeclared chemicals into the kingdom. Jongmeewasin called for a more thorough investigation into the incident.

“There is already an official report from Leam Chabang Hospital that tests of the saline solution used to wash chemical off patients exposed to the chemical fallout from the Saturday’s fire, showed the presence of a strongly alkaline chemical,” Somnuck said.

“This goes against what the officials had disclosed earlier – that the chemicals were acidic. So, there must be more chemicals in this cargo, and the authorities should conduct a full investigation,” he added.

Somnuck also requested the authority to provide details for the treatment of the large amount contaminated water used in firefighting.

Local fishermen have found suspicious burnt barrels floating on the sea after the fire and requested the authorities to investigate.

More than 1,000 people have filed complaints with the Laem Chabang municipality after the incident for either injuries or property damages.

Jason Jiang

Jason is one of the most prolific writers on the diverse China shipping & logistics industry and his access to the major maritime players with business in China has proved an invaluable source of exclusives. Having been working at Asia Shipping Media since inception, Jason is the chief correspondent of Splash and associate editor of Maritime CEO magazine. Previously he had written for a host of titles including Supply Chain Asia, Cargo Facts and Air Cargo Week.
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