Coast Guard to search containers in Port of Los Angeles after lithium batteries cause fire


The U.S. Coast Guard said on Monday it would search all containers of a shipping company in the Port of Los Angeles after a fire revealed the cargo inside its containers was not as described in the bill of lading.

The cargo in the container that caught fire at 8:20 p.m. on March 4 was believed to be “synthetic resins,” according to Coast Guard officials in Los Angeles. Instead, the container contained lithium-ion batteries, a regulated hazardous material that complicated firefighting efforts. The container was to be loaded onto a ship bound for China.

The Coast Guard is working with the shipping company, Customs and Border Protection, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration, and the Port of Los Angeles to identify and inspect all of their containers in port. The Coast Guard has also placed all shipper containers on hold until they can prove that all shipments comply with safety regulations.

“Undeclared hazardous materials pose a serious risk to the safety of cargo ships, ports and first responders,” said Capt. Rebecca Ore, harbor master and commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach. “With our federal, state and local partners, the Coast Guard is committed to working with all shippers to ensure hazardous materials are properly marked and packaged for safe transportation.”


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