US port shut as 'highly explosive' containers punctured
North Carolina: A major US port was shut down today after nine containers of "highly explosive material" were accidentally punctured, officials said, recommending that part of the city be evacuated.
The accident took place around 9:00 am (7:30 pm IST) today at the east coast port of Morehead City in North Carolina, police said, urging residents to stay away from
windows and doors.
"We have found highly explosive material in nine containers at Morehead City Port," Amy Thompson, a police official at the city's port division, said.
"The material was found in an accidental puncture. When they punctured it they realised that it was explosive material."
Authorities reported there were no injuries and no damage to the environment.
Morehead City police chief Wes Lail told a local television station that the chemical involved was pentaerythritol tetranitrate, known as PETN, which can be used
in detonators and grenades.
It is the same material that was used in the botched Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest airliner en route from Amsterdam to Detroit.
Julie Naegelen, who works in downtown Morehead City for the Cataret County Chamber of Commerce, told AFP she and her colleagues noticed an odour outside this morning.
"We started to smell something, that smelled like it was burning. We really don't know if it was related in any way," Naegelen said.