Barge with 180 tons of Ammonium Nitrate Sinks!



It is not only Oil or Garbage which pollutes the sea. The chemical wastes or accidental release of chemicals are much more dangerous as the after effects are unknown.

A barge carrying 180 tons of Ammonium Nitrate encountered heavy seas as it was transporting the chemical to a fertilizer plant. The Two crew members on board was rescued but only after the vessel sank. All 180 tons of the chemical went inside the sea along with the Barge. This incident happened on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Puntarenas, a popular tourist destination in Costa Rica, has its shore line closed for 62 miles.  

What can Ammonium Nitrate Do?

Ammonium nitrate is a chemical commonly used in both fertilizers and explosives is a known skin irritant and can cause damage to the skin and respiratory system. Extreme exposure can result in vomiting, convulsions and severe abdominal pain.

Ammonium nitrate is highly soluble in water and it is believed that much of the initial contamination may have dissolved or been dispersed by ocean currents.

At present, the Red Alert has been downgraded to Yellow – which means only Fishing Activities are being interrupted.


Some Interesting Facts on Ammonium Nitrate:

  1. In room temperature, ammonium nitrate appears in a white crystalline form and it is also colourless.
  2. Ammonium nitrate was said to be developed Germans.
  3. The water which ammonium nitrate was dissolved at is heated, the by- product will be nitrous oxide which is commonly referred to as laughing gas.

What Could Happen when Ammonium Nitrate Mixes with Sea Water?

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you mix ammonium nitrate and water? The answer may actually surprise you since the answer is commonly observed in households. Ammonium nitrate and water when combined produces an endothermic reaction. The term endothermic is a type of reaction wherein the process actually absorbs the energy found in its immediate surroundings but in the form of heat. This is the reason why people associate it with the feeling of coldness since the heat is actually absorbed. Heat is being absorbed so the person may feel cold. 


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