There is a risk of explosion with refrigerated containers. Three separate events have occurred: two in Vietnam and one in Brazil, resulting in three deaths. Another accident occurred in the United States, when the refrigerant in a container ignited spontaneously on contact with air. According to Maersk, which investigated the incidents, all containers had been repaired in Vietnam during the previous year. It is assumed that a non-genuine or false refrigerant formed a flammable mixture with oil or air.
It is estimated that 8,000 refrigerated containers are serviced or repaired in Vietnam annually. According to information, there are risks associated with 7,000 containers, of which 1,000 have been withdrawn from use. It is recommended that suspicious containers should be disconnected and handled with care until they can be taken out of service. For further information, contact the Swedish Transport Agency’s maritime division or go to the website www.refrigerantid.com.