ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has extended condolences over the loss of lives as well as injuries in the tragic incident at Aqaba Port, Jordan.
In a statement, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar expressed deepest sympathies to the families of the deceased and prayed for the speedy recovery of those injured. The spokesperson said Pakistan stands in solidarity with the brotherly people and government of Jordan in this moment of grief. According to media reports, at least 12 people died and 251 were injured in a chlorine gas leak from a storage tank at Jordan’s Aqaba port.
The leak came after a tank filled with 25 tonnes of chlorine gas being exported to Djibouti fell while being transported. A video posted on 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.
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 grains and for any signs of contamination, but maritime traffic at Aqaba ports continues, officials said. There were no vessels unloading any grains cargo at the time of the incident, they added.
Aqaba port at the north end of the Red Sea has long been a major transit route for Iraqi imports and exports. Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh arrived at Aqaba and headed to a hospital where some of the injured were being treated. He also formed an investigation team into the incident chaired by the interior minister, stated media reported.