Hazardous As a Runaway Freight Train

Unstoppable was a 2010 movie with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. The movie was based on the CSX 8888 incident, also known as the Crazy Eights incident, and was about
14 Oct 2015 11:42
Hazardous As a Runaway Freight Train
Dangerous Goods and Hazardous Cargo course participants. Photo: Fiji Maritime Academy

Unstoppable was a 2010 movie with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine.

The movie was based on the CSX 8888 incident, also known as the Crazy Eights incident, and was about an unmanned runaway CSX Transportation freight train in the USA state of Ohio in 2001.

Locomotive #8888 was pulling a train of 47 cars, including some loaded with hazardous chemicals, and ran uncontrolled for two hours at up to 51 miles per hour (82 km/h).

It was finally halted by a railroad crew in a second locomotive, which caught the runaway and coupled it to the rear car.

In the movie, Connie, the yard manager, is desperately trying to find out details surrounding the contents of two tank cars.

Having asked her assistant to contact the shipper she learned that the tanks contained thousands of gallons of molten phenol.

For the information about this chemical, Connie had to rely on a visiting safety inspector who had some knowledge of the substance, which is a toxic ingredient of paints, glues, and dyes that is harmful when it is inhaled, ingested, or comes in contact with the skin.

From movies to real                       life situations

This information is available in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG).

Although the code has been around since the 1960’s, it only became mandatory internationally from 1January 2004.

An instrument of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and part of Safety of Life at Sea Convection (SOLAS) a convention used by the shipping industry extensively, IMDG code is now embraced by the entire supply chain when shipping dangerous goods, hazardous and harmful cargoes.

The CSX 8888 incident happened in 2001 before the IMDG code was made mandatory internationally.

If the procedures of the code were in place, then Connie, the yard manager, just had to refer to the UN number displayed in the front and back of the cars and refer to the data in the code to find out the hazards and the risk and then know the suitable response in case of a spill.

Having the IMDG code is just the tip of the iceberg.

To handle, stow and transport dangerous goods the people involved in the supply chain must be trained and trained well.

Although the Republic of Fiji has been manufacturing, transporting and stowing dangerous goods and hazardous and harmful cargoes for some time now,it is not known when and how formal training was carried out.

FMA conducts first                          training course

Fiji Maritime Academy (FMA), in its endeavor to meet all training needs of the maritime and non-maritime sectors, has conducted the first training course for Dangerous Goods and Hazardous Cargo.

In the three-day course held at FMA’s Laucala Bay campus, the participants learned the nature of the dangerous goods and potential hazardous behaviour when exposed to a change in pressures and temperatures.

They were made aware of the requirements for packaging and transporting goods either in Transportable Container Units (TCU) or Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC).

The importance of proper labeling, placarding and marking were clearly defined.

The source of vital information was taught and contained within three IMDG volumes I, II and the supplement.

Some 22 responsive and interested participants learned Classification, Segregation of Dangerous Goods and were introduced to the Emergency Response Plan (ERP) to deal with accidents and incidents.

The course completed on October 12, was concluded with a certificate distribution ceremony with Ports Corporation Fiji chief executive officer, Vajira Piyasena who was the chief guest.

He was flanked by new FMA chief executive officer, Captain Anura Herath, who acknowledged the need for future training outside the scope of The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers standards.

It is the intention of FMA to conduct more courses of this nature. A refresher course is also under consideration.

Education in marine environment and marine pollution prevention too should be mandatory for all island dwellers if they have any passion about saving their oceans and the planet.

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