Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau this week published its report into the lethal 2018 fire aboard the Maersk Honam in the Indian Ocean. Investigators were unable to conclusively identify the cause of the tragedy, but the most likely culprits appear to be 54 containers loaded with sodium dichloroisocyanurate dihydrate (SDID), classified as IMDG Class 9 miscellaneous dangerous goods and can potentially self-decompose when stowed in bulk. However, as this report in Maritime Executive points out, as is so often the case with shipping accidents, the real blame probably lies in the international trading system itself. It quotes the insurer sent to assist with the vessel’s salvage: “As long as chemical manufacturers are allowed to self-certify their products’ characteristics, dangerous compounds will end up in the wrong place onboard.”

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