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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 18.06.2018, 19:55

Riga fertilizer terminal project complies with safe exploitation criteria

Alla Petrova, BC, Riga, 14.09.2011.Print version
On 26 July 2011, Riga City Council approved construction of the Riga fertilizer terminal on Island Kundziņsala. Riga fertilizer terminal plans construction of a terminal for transshipment and storage of artificial fertilizers with the total annual capacity of 2 million tons, reports BC Riga port’s press service.

Possible risks assessed

The maximum total planned turnover of artificial fertilizers in the terminal is 2.0 million tons. Lime-ammonium nitrate, diammonium phosphate, ammonium nitrate, stabilized ammonium nitrate, and carbamide are planned to be transshipped in the terminal. 6 dome-shaped warehouses with capacity of 25 000 t each, 2 dome-shaped warehouses with capacity of 15 000 t each, a wagon unloading station for simultaneous unloading of 4 railway wagons, ship loading equipment are planned to be built in the territory of the terminal, as well as construction of underground and overground conveyor passages to ensure technological process. Construction of access railway to the territory of the terminal is planned within the frameworks of the project.


It has been stated in the environmental impact assessment performed in compliance with the legislation: „From the point of view of industrial accident risk, artificial fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate have the highest dangerousness potential as at a certain coincidence of unfavorable circumstances they could cause explosion risk.” Taking it into account, the risk assessment basically analysis risks caused and connected with transshipment of artificial fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate and stabilized ammonium nitrate.


According to information provided in the said literature sources, artificial fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate (AN) is a stable chemical product that itself does not create increased dangerousness. Dangerousness of artificial fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate could arise as a result of concomitants, it can appear as fire, chemical decomposition of the product creating toxic fumes, or explosion. Artificial fertilizers containing AN is not an inflammable product. Artificial fertilizers containing AN per characteristics are oxidants, therefore burning could start when they come into contact with inflammable materials. It is difficult to explode artificial fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate because in production process they are prepared so that they had high detonation resistance, thus very great amount of energy is necessary to explode the product. Neither flame, nor sparkle or friction can cause detonation of AN. Pure ammonium nitrate is not sensitive to impacts or friction, it cannot explode in normal storage conditions.

Competent authorities of Latvia control compliance with safety measures

Maritime Administration and the Freeport of Riga Authority ensure that transshipment and storage of dangerous substances complies with the requirements of code of the International Maritime Organization effective in all ports around the world where dangerous cargos are being transshipped. A set of increased safety requirements has been established for vessels transporting dangerous substances, thus guaranteeing safety of dangerous cargos during transportation.


Alpha Osta Ltd has been operating in the Freeport of Riga for a long time, it has a long experience in transportation of such cargos. Previous experience of the company proves that all safety measures taken comply with the established criteria, and there have been no emergency situations.


It is planned to transship 5 different types of artificial fertilizers at the Riga fertilizer terminal, and one of them – ammonium nitrate – is considered a substance of increased dangerousness. It is planned to store ammonium nitrate in amounts of up to 50 000 tons in two different warehouses – up to 25 000 tons in each. A set of safety measures has already been introduced in the project, thus guaranteeing safety of the terminal during its exploitation.


When assessing construction site of the terminal it was concluded that the nearest object of increased dangerousness is Woodisoon terminal Ltd that is located 800 meters from the planned object. Territory of Propāna gāze Ltd is located in a 900 meters distance. Thus, there is no basis to consider that objects of increased dangerousness are located too close to each other. All protective zones envisaged for the needs of environmental safety have been marked in the project.


As to the use of nitrates for production of explosives used in terrorism acts, it should be noted that it cannot be considered that Latvia would be among the countries with high terrorism risk. Risk assessment company Maplekroft has acknowledged Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Columbia, and the Philippines as countries with especially high risk of terrorism. China, Turkey, Uzbekistan, France, Great Britain, USA, and Russia have been named as countries with high risk of terrorism. In Latvia, possibility of terrorism is assessed as low.

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