M Shahjahan also spoke to Prothom Alo about the latest developments and possible reasons behind the incident during the visit.
The death toll in the fire rose to 41 so far with fire-fighters trying to extinguish the flames.
M Shahjahan instructed the depot owners and the officials of the container depot association to move several intact containers filled with chemicals including hydrogen peroxide from the depot.
Once intact containers catch fire, the situation may worsen further, he observed.
The port chairman said there were 26 containers with hydrogen peroxide at the depot. This chemical were also stored in plastic jars at the tin-shed facility of the depot. Jars filled with hydrogen peroxide leaked out from inside containers after fire broke out. Hydrogen peroxide, oxygen, water and fire accumulated increased heat inside containers and that caused the explosion, tearing apart the containers.
Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound that may explode when it comes in contact with heat.
M Shahjahan said the depot complied with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code or ISPS Code, which is a set of measures that is maintained by International Maritime Organization to enhance the security of vessels and port facilities.
The port chairman said he also saw separate facilities to store hazardous products at the depot.
M Shahjahan further said, “There were minor fire incidents at containers in the Chittagong port and we instantly move the fire-affected containers using cranes. And if chemicals catch fire, we use foam instead of water. Had the containers filled with flammable substance like hydrogen peroxide been moved after the fire broke out, the scale of damage would have been less.”
The Chittagong Port Authority monitors the container depots’ operation as their port associated body and the shipping department monitors the safety measures while the depots manage these containers that carry imported and export goods through the port.