ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday sent “heartfelt condolences” to Jordan after at least 13 people died and 251 were injured in a chlorine gas leak from a storage tank at the country’s Aqaba port.
The leak came after a tank filled with 25 tons of chlorine gas being exported to Djibouti fell while being transported, officials said.
A video posted on Jordanian state television’s Twitter page showed a storage tank falling from a winch and slamming into the deck of a ship, followed by yellow-colored gas rising into the air as people ran away.
“The Government and people of Pakistan extend heartfelt condolences over the loss of precious lives as well as injuries to many as a result of a tragic incident at Aqaba Port, Jordan,” the foreign office said. “We express deepest sympathies to the families of the deceased and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured.”
Chlorine is a widely used disinfectant and water purification agent, but if inhaled, the gas turns to hydrochloric acid, which can lead to internal burning and drowning through a reactionary release of water in the lungs.
Jordan’s Aqaba grain silos halted work to allow inspection of its grains and for any signs of contamination, but maritime traffic at Aqaba ports continues, officials told reporters.
There were no vessels unloading any grains cargo at the time of the incident.
Aqaba port at the north end of the Red Sea has long been a major transit route for Iraqi imports and exports.