Dock workers at Port of Long Beach injured in chemical spill

Firefighters responding to a hazmat incident board a ship at the Port of Long Beach on Sunday.
(Brian Fisk / Long Beach Fire Department via AP)

Twelve dock workers suffered minor injuries Sunday morning when a container of flammable liquid began to leak at the Port of Long Beach, officials said.

One worker exposed to the fumes, along with a firefighter who fell while responding to the spill, were transported to a hospital, according to the Long Beach Fire Department and U.S. Coast Guard.. Both sustained minor injuries and were in stable condition Sunday afternoon.

Workers who were exposed to the leaking chemical, identified as propyl acetate, experienced shortness of breath, said Davonte Marrow, a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Long Beach Fire Department received the 911 call at approximately 9:30 a.m., said Brian Fisk, a spokesman for the agency. An engine company was dispatched to Pier G, a 29-acre container terminal south of the Queen Mary, where it found the hazardous material coming from a roughly 6,000-gallon chemical tank onboard a docked container ship.

A hazardous materials unit, a search-and-rescue unit and paramedics were dispatched to the scene. Two Long Beach fire boats and one of the city’s lifeguard rescue boats deployed a 1,000-foot boom in the water alongside the docked ship as a precautionary measure against environmental damage, Fisk said.


With the help of port workers and crane operators, the leaking container was removed from the ship.

A Coast Guard captain set up a safety zone 150 yards around the ship while crews removed the chemical from the water. It’s unclear how much spilled into the water, though authorities expected to finish cleaning up by Sunday evening, Marrow said.

Officials did not know what caused the leak.


5:25 p.m.: This article was updated with more details about the incident.

This article was originally posted at 1:25 p.m.