Chemical leak on ship at Thai seaport sends fumes inland that sicken 139 people

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BANGKOK – Fumes from a chemical leak on a ship at a Thai seaport spread inland on Thursday, sickening 139 people, including schoolchildren, authorities said.

Those exposed to the fumes had difficulty breathing, nausea and headaches. They were treated at hospitals.

The disaster prevention department said 139 villagers and students were exposed to the fumes before the areas near the eastern seaport were evacuated.

The hazardous flammable liquids leaked early Thursday morning when a container fell onto the liquid tank on the Hong Kong ship that was anchored at a dock in Laem Chabang industrial seaport in Chonburi province, said Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department Director-General Chatchai Promlert in a statement.

Chatchai said the ship, which was travelling from Jakarta, Indonesia, was moved 10 kilometres (6 miles) away from the port before the chemicals were cleaned up. The chemicals, identified as butyl acrylates, are used for polymer manufacturing and in industrial production.

Laem Chabang is Thailand’s main deep seaport and is 116 kilometres (72 miles) southeast of Bangkok.

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