At 0056 on 5 March Humber Coastguard took a 999 call from a company called Crystal Global, informing of an uncontrolled release of a toxic chemical called Titanium Tetrachloride. The release formed a toxic cloud, which drifted across the River Humber. The company based at Stallingborough on the south bank of the River Humber, is a top tier COMAH, Control of Major Accidents & Hazards, site.
The initial call from the watch keeper at the site confirmed that the release had caused 4 casualties at the site, and that they had suffered chemical burns and toxic inhalation.
Humber Coastguard immediately scrambled the RAF Rescue helicopter 125 from Wattisham, and alerted Cleethorpes Coastguard Rescue Team to attend the site.
In agreement with Vessel Traffic Services at Humber, all shipping has been halted on the Humber Estuary, but one vessel, the MV Baltic Bright had already sailed close to, or through the toxic cloud and had actually seen it and informed VTS.
The four casualties from the site have been taken to hospital, one of whom has since been transferred to Pinderfield Hospital, the burns specialist hospital.
The crew of the MV Baltic Bright, which is now alongside in Immingham, have all been medically checked by paramedics.
A temporary danger area, TDA, has been established in agreement with the Royal Air Force, and TRFR, Temporary Restriction of Flying Regulations, has also been enforced.
Both maritime and aeronautical traffic has been affected by this incident.
Mike Puplett, Humber Coastguard Watch Manager says: “This has been a serious incident, which has involved many Agencies working together. The incident is still ongoing, and there is still a danger from the toxic fumes in the locality. We are hoping that normal service on the River Humber can be restored as soon as possible. We are also conscious of increased traffic on the river as the day progresses including some ferries which may be delayed.”