Eighteen people were being treated in hospital last night after toxic gas used to kill rodents escaped from a ship docked at a harbour in Northern Ireland.
The cargo on the MV Arklow Meadow at Warrenpoint, Co Down, is understood to have become wet and unstable. Authorities had to set up a 50m cordon around the area, with local residents being told to close their doors and windows.
The gas is believed to be aluminium phosphide, a pesticide used to kill small mammals such as moles and rodents. The MV Arklow Meadow is owned by Arklow Shipping, based in Arklow on Ireland’s east coast. A member of staff at the company, who did not identify himself, said the incident had been “blown out of all proportion”.
A Northern Ireland Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We have 18 patients. It is a chemical incident on a ship. Nine are en route to Daisy Hill Hospital and nine are at the scene and they will be transferred to Craigavon Area Hospital.”