German court probes fatal 2016 BASF explosion

Source: ICIS News

2019/02/05

LONDON (ICIS)--A German court on Tuesday began hearing charges related to the 2016 explosion at BASF’s Ludwigshafen petrochemicals production hub that ended up killing five people and injuring 44.

LudwigshafenThe accident had a major impact, affecting more than 20 plants at the large site.

Public prosecutors are charging a 62-year old worker of a firm specialised in pipe and pipeline construction and maintenance with negligence.

The worker had been instructed to cut into and separate an empty propylene pipe. Instead, he cut into an adjacent pipe that contained a butane gas mixture.

This triggered a fire that led to the explosion of an ethylene pipeline, which, in turn, triggered further explosions and fires at the site, prosecutors said.

The worker, who was severely injured, claims not to have any memory of what went wrong, prosecutors said. They did not disclose the name of the worker.

If found guilty, the state court in Frankenthal, near Ludwigshafen could sentence the worker to up to five years of prison or a fine, prosecutors said.

They added that there was no evidence of “punishable conduct” by other persons.

BASF said in a written response to ICIS that it would not comment on this trial.

Pictured: The Ludwigshafen site on 17 October 2016
Source: Xinhua News Agency/REX/Shutterstock