Two hydrocarbon tank fires due to a malicious act - issue 258

Issue Number: 258


Two explosions occurred at around 3 am on 14 July 2015 in the storage zone of a petrochemical platform in Berre-l’Étang (Bouches-du-Rhône), France. The two tanks ignited causing damage to their floating roofs. A major fire-fighting effort was deployed to extinguish the fires. Damage to a third tank was discovered some hours later. The incident resulted in air pollution which caused a nuisance to the local population, and some ground and water pollution. Property damage amounted to millions of euros.
The initial findings of the accident investigation pointed to an act of malicious intent due to the simultaneity of the explosions as well as to the discovery of detonation devices alongside the damaged tanks and on the roof of the third tank.
As a result of the incident, the site operator introduced numerous measures to improve site security, and an action plan was put in place between the Government and several major operators to address the issue on a wider scale.

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