The top official in Tianjin pledged to relocate the chemical plants in Tianjin Binhai New Area following last week’s fatal blasts. Meanwhile, all companies that produce and store dangerous chemicals are undergoing strict inspection and will be closed if any faults are found, Huang Xingguo, mayor of Tianjin, said at a news conference on Wednesday.
The vice mayor of Tianjin Municipality said that the chemicals stored at the Tianjin warehouse where two explosions occurred last week have been identified.
He Shushan said the warehouse had stored about 40 substances across seven categories, including:
- around 1,300 tonnes of oxide compounds, mainly potassium nitrate and ammonium nitrate;
- 500 tons of inflammable materials, consisting of metallic sodium and magnesium;
- 700 tonnes of highly toxic substances, mainly sodium cyanide.
He also added that caffeine had been found at the site.
The blasts on Aug. 12 that rocked a warehouse storing hazardous chemicals in Tianjin Binhai New Area have claimed 114 lives, including 13 people not yet identified, and left 64 missing.
“As the principal leader of Tianjin, I have inescapable responsibility for the incident,” said the mayor, who met with the media for the first time one week after the blasts occurred.
The insured losses from the series of explosions are likely to range from $1 billion to $1.5 billion, Fitch Ratings said in a report on Tuesday.
The high insurance penetration rate in this area could make the blasts one of the most costly catastrophe claims for the Chinese insurance sector in the past few years, the report said.
According to the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, non-life-insurance premiums from Tianjin amounted to 11 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) last year.
As such, should insured losses come in at the high end of the initial estimate of $1 billion to $1.5 billion, they would represent about 88 percent of total direct premiums written in Tianjin, or roughly 5.4 percent of aggregated shareholder capital for the six most active issuers at the end of last year.
Motor insurance is expected to be a major sector of all claims, since over 8,000 vehicles were destroyed in the blasts.
Large quantities of dead fish have been spotted near the blast zone in Tianjin by environmental investigators, pictures of which have gone viral online, leading to speculation that hazardous chemicals from the blast have led to their deaths. However, analysis by investigators showed no toxic levels of cyanide detected in water samples taken from the river.
The analysis was conducted at around 5:30 p.m. Thursday at a section of the Haihe River, which is several kilometers away from the site of the explosions at the north China port, according to the city’s environment monitoring center.
Beijing checking its stored chemicals
Beijing is also strengthening safety checks on hazardous chemicals stored in the city following the Tianjin disaster, local authorities said. The capital city is home to 2,536 businesses that handle harmful chemicals, including liquid ammonia, methane, and liquid chlorine.
Compiled from reports by China Daily, Xinhua,