Our surroundings seem more vulnerable than ever with the changing weather conditions throughout the globe. There is an increasing consensus that climate change is being caused because of human activities, most probably the emission of greenhouse gases which are causing a global rise in temperature. Carbon emissions from industrial plants in developing countries are also a major contributor to increase in greenhouse gases.
The coastlines are becoming increasingly under threat by storms and floods that are growing more frequent due to the gradually rising sea levels. The intensity of these storms has also grown, and poverty-stricken countries like Bangladesh and the islands in the Pacific are facing an increasing threat by the overall situation. Even the more established countries are not able to avoid the threats which come in the form of flooded seaports.
According to findings, countries like the Netherlands, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, United States, Canada and Myanmar are all at risk of flooding due to rising sea levels, which is obviously threatening coastal communities. One such devastating incident occurred at the Italian seaport of Savona, when a flood caused a few Maserati cars to burst up in flames.
The Findings of the Investigation
An investigation was called to figure out what actually caused the combustion of hundreds of cars, especially considering the fact that they were of the Maserati brand. As per reports which came in from local media, these luxurious cars were all set to be exported to the UAE and the Middle East, and due to an adverse reaction between the car batteries and salt water, the cars caught fire.
The fire first engulfed two cars which were standing in the parking area at the port. This port was flooded heavily by sea water one night before the incident. The sea water did not only cause flooding at the port but spread across the north-west side of the Italian city.
The batteries installed in cars are usually made of lithium-ion, a chemical compound which has the potential to explode when it gets overheated. The reaction of the chemical compound within the batteries with the salt water worsened the situation because the reaction of lithium-ion with salt is explosive, and instead of lowering the temperature of the batteries as fresh water would’ve done, the salt component acted as a catalyst for the fire.
According to local automotive mechanics, salt is a very good conductor of electricity. When salt water enters the batteries, it starts a chemical reaction which ultimately leads to combustion. Interestingly, the salt present in sea water creates a positive charge while the chlorine ions create a negative charge, and when mixed together they become explosive in nature.
Containing the Damage
The fire authorities and the local fire crews worked hard to put out the blazing flames, but nothing seems to have worked very well. According to sources, four firefighter teams were deployed to control the spread of the fire. However, it was already too late when they were eventually able to put out the fire completely, as the damage was already irrecoverable. Only burnt-out car shells were left by the end, which otherwise would’ve sold for thousands of dollars.
Other than these luxurious Maserati cars, the port also hosted several trucks and other cars which were also completely destroyed in the fire. Thankfully, no human life was harmed or lost in the incident.
According to local media, this was the second fire event which has taken place at this same port in the same week. Earlier, the fire initially broke out in the main building of the port, luckily causing no injuries to human life but engulfing the entire building in flames. It took 14 firefighters to take complete control of the situation.
For now, this port has been shut down for an indefinite period of time because of these recurring fire incidents. Most likely when the weather situation improves and the occurrence of flooding decreases, the port will be opened again.
The Deteriorating Weather Conditions in Italy
Italy has been facing worsening weather conditions in recent times, with unexpected storms, strong winds, and high waves along the coastline. Areas around the coastline like the Liguria region are under red alert as well because of unexpected weather conditions.