• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Shell attacked over oil explosion

AFP/The Local · 9 Jan 2014, 18:43

Published: 09 Jan 2014 18:43 GMT+01:00

Shell came under fire from environmentalists Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) which accused the oil giant of underplaying the danger of the fumes.
 
To say that the fumes posed no threat to residents was an "outrageous playing down" of the dangers, Paul Kröfges of BUND's North Rhine-Westphalia chapter wrote in a statement.
 
On the contrary, he said the explosion had created "masses of carcinogenic soot" along with other carcinogenic gasses, "which are being distributed together with the soot in the air over southern Cologne."  
 
The cause of the explosion was still unclear on Friday morning, the Welt newspaper reported. All that is known is that a tank containing toluene, a solvent, caught fire at the Rheinland refinery in the Godorf district of the city of Cologne at around 3pm local time on Thursday, according to a Shell statement.
 
"We will be investigating the cause and bringing in outside experts," refinery manager Wulf Spitzley told the paper. City authorities said in a statement that the blaze had been brought under control within 90 minutes. "As far as we know no one was injured by the explosion," they added.
 
So far there has also been no estimate of the cost of the damage.
 
Later on Thursday evening, authorities revised earlier warnings to residents to stay indoors with the windows and doors closed after establishing the smoke from the fire was not dangerous, the paper said. 
 
However, some local residents complained that they had not been told early enough about the potential risk.
 
"We only heard from the press hours later that we were supposed to close windows and doors," Giuseppe Falsone, who lives just 150 metres from the refinery, told the paper. "If poisonous smoke is rising, it's not too much to get staff to go and inform the residents."
Story continues below…
 
 
"Initial information was only available from announcements on the radio," criticized Kröfges. "These were limited to the usual warnings to close windows and doors. This breakdown is clearly inherent to the system, as soon as an emergency occurs, direct communication collapses into chaos."  
 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The Local List
13 (even more) thrilling facts you must know about Berlin
Berlin, du bist so wunderbar. Photo: DPA.

Berlin is just so gosh darn interesting, we couldn't fit it all into the first list on our website of infinite virtual space.

1000s of smashed beer bottles bring Autobahn to standstill
The clean up near Bayreuth. Photo: DPA

The main road artery between Munich and Berlin was completely shut down on Tuesday evening after a truck driver committed a cardinal sin.

Far-right leader Petry under investigation for perjury
Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA

Her right wing populist party’s electoral successes have struck the fear of God into the political mainstream. But Frauke Petry is now under investigation in Dresden for perjury.

We'll crush German airlines, boasts Ryanair boss
Michael O’Leary. Photo: DPA

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has told a German newspaper that German rivals Air Berlin and Eurowings are doomed.

All aboard the €3,000 train ride from Berlin to London
Hercule Poirot on the Orient Express. Photo: Arte/DPA

One imagines that there is more than one Londoner who has moved to Germany in pursuit of Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin. Now they have the chance to travel like him, too.

Adidas to bring production home with robot shoe factory
File photo: DPA

Adidas, the German maker of sportswear and equipment, announced Tuesday that it will start marketing its first series of sportshoes manufactured by robots in Germany from 2017.

Passersby spur on mob as they attack refugees
File Photo: DPA

When four refugees were attacked near a tram stop in a town on the German-Polish border on Monday evening, pedestrians egged on their assailants.

Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Screenshot: Facebook

Members of anti-Islam group Pegida were outraged this week to see photos of black and Middle Eastern children on packets of Kinder chocolate bars – until they found out who the kids really were.

Germany gets its way over fresh aid for Greece
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble appears to have got his way at a Brussels showdown. Photos: DPA

Greece will get extra cash in the coming months to cover its debt repayments – but there'll be no cut to the total amount before the next elections in Germany.

Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Chancellor Angela Merkel showing up French President François Hollande in a neighbourly battle of table manners. Photo: DPA.

Despite what stereotypes might have you believe, Germans aren't that different from the rest of us when it comes to social interactions. But these tips should at least help guide you through the minor quirks that come with your next dinner invitation.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Business & Money
Surprise results give Germany strongest growth in two years
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Munich
The bloody knife attack that shocked a Bavarian town
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
Culture
The 6 German words you need to know for spring
Culture
6 weird and wonderful ways Germans celebrate May 1st
Gallery
Feast your eyes on Germany in springtime bloom
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
Politics
Merkel allows Erdogan case against German satirist to go ahead
Travel
7 of Germany's most jaw-dropping national parks
7,703
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd