Mustard Gas?

A container of toxic gas exploded today aboard a ship in the port of Aqaba, in Jordan. Ten people were killed and hundreds more were injured by the gas.

A crane seems to have inadvertently dropped the cylinder of gas onto the deck, causing it to explode.

I’d like to tap into the distributed intelligence of Gates of Vienna readers to answer this question: Is there any toxic gas besides mustard gas that would exhibit a bright yellow plume like the one that appeared today in Aqaba?

Here’s CCTV footage of the incident:

That gas may be something totally unremarkable, albeit lethal, for all I know.

Regardless, I’d be interested to find out where the vessel is registered, where it was coming from, and the intended destination of the cylinder.

Here’s a news story about what happened:

Jordan: Toxic Gas Explosion Kills 10, Over 200 Injured in Aqaba Port

Aqaba health director Jamal Obeidat called on residents to “stay in their homes and shut all windows as a precaution”, stating that the chemical substance is very dangerous

Ten people were killed and more than 200 injured Monday in a toxic gas explosion in Jordan’s Aqaba port, authorities said. Footage on state TV showed a large cylinder plunging from a crane on a moored vessel, causing a violent release of a yellow gas.

The force of the blast sent a truck rolling down the harbourside, while port workers could be seen running for their lives. Nearby areas were evacuated and residents told to stay indoors.

The death toll rose to 10, government spokesman Faisal al-Shaboul told AFP, revising an initial toll of five killed. Prime Minister Bishr Khasawneh and interior minister Mazen al-Faraya headed to the site of the accident, state media reported. Civil defence spokesman Amer al-Sartawy earlier reported that 234 people were injured after the tank filled with toxic gas fell.

“Specialists and the hazardous substances team in the civil defence are dealing” with the incident, Sartawy added.

5 thoughts on “Mustard Gas?

  1. There’s an almost unlimited array of various gases which it could have been. My guess it, it was some relatively benign, inflammable gas. The yellow color may be used for leak detection, i.e. it’s visible. The rapid expansion from the drop probably killed those people.

  2. Which gas is yellow in colour?
    The chlorine is a yellow gas. As we go below in the group, the halogen will have a dark colour. So the colour of fluorine gas is pale yellow, chlorine gas is greenish-yellow, bromine gas is red-brown and iodine gas is purple in colour. Was this answer helpful?

    What color is mustard gas?
    Mustard Gas, when pure, is a colorless and odorless oily liquid. Warfare Agent grade Mustard Gas is yellow to dark brown. The odor may be like burning garlic, horseradish, or sweet and agreeable. It is used as a chemical warfare agent and in organic synthesis.

  3. Mustard gas is a blister agent. If you can get a look at one of more of the victims you should be able to tell if it was mustard gas – they will have blistering over exposed skin areas.

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