Hazardous and Noxious Substances Spill Incidents

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On this database it is collected information on the fate and weathering of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) accidentally spilt at the sea around the world. It gathers and systematizes existing information to assist stakeholders involved in spill preparedness and response, and builds return of experience datasheets for the chemicals involved. It will facilitate the incorporation of lessons from past incidents on the decision process to improve preparedness.

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Kerch Strait



Rest of the world


HNS Spilt



Amount Spilt (T)2500

CAS Number7704-34-9


Physical Behaviour (SEBC code)


Pollution Category (MARPOL Annex 2)


Class according to IMDG code


Subsidiary Risk Class according to IMDG code

Classification as Marine Pollutant


HNS Classification (2010 HNS Convention)

Fate and weathering facts observed/reported

The sulphur was transported as granules and contained inside the three mentioned sunken ships. As reported in the literature, sulphur in granular form has a low speed of reaction with water and therefore does not pose an immediate acute risk. However, there is little practical experience with this type of accident. If sulphur reacts with seawater at a higher rate, the release of sulphur could be a concern for the marine fauna, flora and humans. When spilt into water, liquid sulphur forms a paste and sinks, without dissolving, creating a localised deposit on the seafloor. Only in very exceptional cases will a sulphur spill lead to the presence of colloidal sulphur in suspension thus harming the aquatic biocenosis (effects observed at concentrations of between 1.6 and 10 g/l). Solid or molten sulphur sinks. In shallow waters, it can be recovered by suction or dredging. It can then be placed in temporary storage tanks for subsequent treatment. In water, sulphur can gradually oxidise into sulphates by microbial action. In soil, sulphur is more rapidly biotransformed by micro-organisms. No response known.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)