Naval patrol dispatched amidst another Rayong industrial disaster on Thursday. The PM established a war room to coordinate the response. The Royal Thai Navy aided in the evacuation and care of local people and workers. The massive fire was eventually brought under control after seven hours. One person was declared dead while four were reported as critically injured. Locals coordinated their own evacuation.

The government was left facing another industrial disaster on Thursday. It occurred at the Map Ta Phut Port in Rayong. A huge chemical storage tank at a terminal on the port became engulfed in flames in the middle of the morning. In the terrifying and chaotic four-hour period that followed, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin ordered a war room while the Royal Thai Navy dispatched a patrol boat to assist in evacuating stranded people in the area. Afterwards, a breakthrough came at 3 p.m. when the fire began to come under control. However, one person died in the disaster with four reportedly critically injured. 

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Thursday instructed the Ministry of Industry to establish a war room as a Level 2 disaster was declared in the centre of Rayong. The patrol boat, HTMS Sri Racha, was ordered by the navy to Map Ta Phut Port in the Mueang district of the province to assist with evacuating trapped people if required.

One worker has died and four were reportedly seriously injured in a massive fire in Rayong. The blaze, which broke out on Thursday morning, burned for nearly seven hours before eventually being brought under control.

At 4:50 PM on Thursday, Mr Atthaya Nuanuthai of the Rayong Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office had news. Firefighters had managed to extinguish the flames. 

Just hours earlier a Level 2 disaster was declared, a naval vessel deployed and evacuation orders issued after the spread to a second massive storage tank

Just hours before, after 2 p.m., an explosion at a second huge tank caused an even greater conflagration. Certainly, at that time, fears were raised when it was thought a third tank had additionally been engulfed in the flames.

The huge tanks at the depot had a capacity of 2,500 cubic metres. They were 18 metres high and 30 metres wide.

After that, firefighters and those responding to the blaze were forced to retreat.

In the meantime, a Level 2 disaster was declared by local authorities. This means that the situation was out of control and posed a risk to a wider area.

The fire took place at Map Ta Phut Port in the Mueang district of Rayong province. The facility where the fire erupted is operated by the Map Ta Phut Tank Terminal Company Limited.

PM Srettha Thavisin set up a war room to monitor the response to the unfolding disaster. HTMS Sri Racha was dispatched to the pier as a rescue precaution 

As alarm spread on Thursday afternoon, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced that a government war room had been established. In a comprehensive response, the Royal Thai Navy was deployed on a number of fronts.

Firstly, its personnel, including the Marine Corps, were ordered to report to the Rayong Provincial Government Centre to assist evacuated civilians. They were joined by military personnel from the 7th Infantry Battalion and 3rd Infantry Regiment.

A briefing was given by Rear Admiral Wirudom Muangjeen, a spokesman for the navy. In addition, he revealed that the HTMS Sriracha was ordered to be deployed. It was to dock at Map Ta Phut Port to assist in evacuating any people trapped by the fire.

However, just an hour later, at 3 PM, there were reports that the fires, that had taken hold in two massive tanks, were under control. Fire extinguishing foam trucks from SCG Chemicals Plc (SCGC), the petrochemical division of Siam Cement Group (SCG), played a critical role.

Latest in a rash of disasters and industrial incidents in past weeks. The number of industrial fires and explosions raises concerns about safety and undermines confidence

The industrial accident is the latest in a string of such incidents across Thailand in recent months. They include explosions at firework factories, numerous pollution scandals, and conflagrations, notably in Ayutthaya and Rayong.

The rash of incidents has led to the resignation of a senior official with the Industry Ministry. At the same time, concerns are raised that Thailand’s industrial safety standards are lacking, impacting foreign investment confidence and tourism.

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In relation to the Map Ta Phut Port vicinity in Rayong, there is a horrendous track record. For instance, in 2021, a chemical tank exploded in the same area, killing 3 people. In 2012, factory explosions in an industrial estate saw 12 people die. 

That incident saw then-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra visit the scene. The factory involved was ordered closed, and Ms Yingluck ordered a committee to investigate possible pollution.

Similarly, in 2016, there was a conflagration at a PTT Plc phenol factory with no loss of life.

Locals used social media to coordinate a response

On Thursday, government centres and schools were opened as local residents were ordered evacuated. At the same time, local community networks went into operation

In the meantime, 48-year-old Amorn Kongyuennan, a committee member of the Takuan-Ao Pradu community, briefed the media. He explained what happened from a local perspective.

‘At the time of the incident, we heard a very loud explosion. Therefore, we immediately informed the LINE committee group to help evacuate more than 100 households to the multi-purpose building. There were doctors or nurses checking symptoms. Most of them had burning eyes and noses, some were prone to vomiting. In brief, this is because the wind changed direction towards the community. Afterwards, residents also had to be evacuated from the multi-purpose building. They were taken to the Rayong Provincial Government Centre for their safety.’

Dead and injured named

Meanwhile, the person killed in today’s disaster has been named. He was Mr Nopporn Rueanma.

Three people seriously injured were also identified at the same time. One of the seriously injured cannot be named. 

The three hospitalised and listed as code red or in critical condition were Mr Nitchan Tipprason, Chokchai Chuchum, and Jakklak Thinrakaew.

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