Toxic gas leaks from ship at Corpus Christi; 30 people exposed

The following is the text of two press releases issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) — The Coast Guard responded to a chemical release at the Occidental chemical facility in La Quinta marine channel today.
At 5:30 a.m. the DuPont chemical facility adjacent to the Occidental chemical facility reported that alarms on their facility indicated vinyl chloride monomer (VCM).  Oxychem, owners of the Occidental Chemical Facility and major producer of VCM, immediately shut down the operation at the facility.  The source of the VCM release was a vessel at their pier named VENUSGAS. VCM is the chemical used in the production of PVC pipe and, at room temperature; it is a toxic, colorless gas.
A Coast Guard inspection team arrived on scene to evaluate the severity of the situation and checked the condition of the vessel’s monitoring systems.  At approximately 3:00 p.m. handheld chemical sensors indicated the presence of VCM gas in the compressor room of the VENUSGAS.  The space and ship were secured and all exposed individuals, including the Coast Guard inspection team, were taken to the hospital.  Up to 30 people were exposed to the gas.  Some crewmembers from the vessel are still at Spohn Shoreline Hospital being attended to and all are reported to be in stable condition.  The Coast Guard inspection team has been released with no reports of side affects.
At the present time, the vessel owner of VENUSGAS is coordinating a hazardous material response to determine the source of the chemical release.  The Coast Guard is working with Oxychem and monitoring the situation.
(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) — A hazardous materials team will inspect the chemical release of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) on board the vessel VENUSGAS at Occidental chemical facility at La Quinta marine channel this morning at 6:00 a.m.
Miller Environmental Group in conjunction with U. S. Environmental Services is providing a hazardous materials team to inspect the compressor space within the VENUSGAS.  The space is suspected to be the source of the chemical release that was reported yesterday morning.
The Coast Guard is continuing to work with the Occidental chemical facility and monitoring the situation.
By Professional Mariner Staff