Crews have started cleaning up a highly flammable liquid that spilled inside a cargo ship and on the dock area of the Washington United Terminal at the Port of Tacoma early today.
The terminal, 1815 Port of Tacoma Road, is closed as crews do their work, Tacoma fire spokesman Joe Meinecke said. He anticipated the work will keep the terminal closed for another couple of hours.
Tacoma firefighters were called to the terminal just after 3:50 a.m. today for reports of a hazardous materials spill.
Crew members were off-loading a container from the Hyundai Oakland cargo ship when they noticed the liquid spilling out, Meinecke said. The container held about 70 drums inside.
The liquid was identified as chlorobenzotrifluoride, which is generally used as an ink solvent in the printing industry. A majority of the liquid spilled inside the ship’s hull. A smaller amount got on the terminal, Meinecke said.
Tacoma fire paramedics checked out a couple of Hyundai Oakland crew members that had been exposed to the liquid. They were released at the scene. No other injuries have been reported.
The other crew members were sheltered in the opposite end of the cargo ship as the Fire Department set up containment and started evaluating the spill, Meinecke said. Firefighters are monitoring the air because the liquid is highly explosive when it’s ignited.
A contractor has responded to the scene to clean up the spills.