France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve has sent an urgent instruction to regional and local officials following an explosion at two storage tanks of the LyondellBasell petrochemical complex in l’Étang-de-Berre, near Marseilles.
Local officials have been told to make “immediate” contact with managers of sensitive industrial sites, particularly those covered by Seveso regulations.
Two explosions occurred Tuesday 14 March around 3am resulting in the combustion of a gasoline tank and one other storing naphtha. No one was injured.
French media has reported that “a criminal act” is being considered as a serious possibility by investigators.
The Interior Ministry demanded “special vigilance” and “thorough inspection of all such facilities”, according to the communique revealed by Le Parisien, a newspaper. Site patrols should be strengthened, it added, as well as a check for the proper functioning of video surveillance systems. Site managers should also “identify other possible sensitive points likely to be targeted by malicious acts”.