Punctured drums of explosive material shut down U.S. port

By Calvin Palmer

An east coast U.S. port was shut down today after nine containers of “highly explosive material” were accidentally punctured.

The incident occurred around 9:00 a.m. at the port of Morehead City in North Carolina.

“We have found highly explosive material in nine containers,” said Amy Thompson, a police official at the city’s port division. “The material was found in an accidental puncture. When they punctured it they realized that it was explosive material.”

Police have recommended that the downtown part of Morehead City, which has a population of some 15,000 people, be evacuated as a precaution. A stretch of U.S. highway 70 near the port has also been closed.

The chemical involved was pentaerythritol tetranitrate, known as PETN, which is used in plastic explosives but also to treat heart conditions.

It is the same material that was used in the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest airliner en route from Amsterdam to Detroit.

The port is one of the deepest on the US east coast. It is a major exporter of phosphates and the second largest importer in the country for natural rubber.

[Based on a report by AFP.]

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