On Thursday, March 16, a locomotive belonging to ArcelorMittal Liberia, marked AML 095, caught fire while carrying about 55 wagons loaded with ore to the Port of Buchanan. The incident occurred in the center of Sanniquellie City at around 6PM, causing panic among the residents. The cause of the fire is still unknown, and the locomotive was left severely burned.
According to witnesses, the train was still moving with the fire blazing until the crew finally stopped the train. No damage was reportedly done to the ore as there was no derailment, but the locomotive remained on the track/rail and got burned.
AML locomotives have been involved in several accidents since they began moving ore from Yekepa to Buchanan in 2011. Last year, two maintenance workers were killed with several others wounded while carrying out maintenance work on the railroad. In May 2021, two locomotives collided in Nimba County, leaving the two operators with severe injuries.
Some victims of past incidents blame AML for not putting safety mechanism in place, such as better communication links along the railroad to alert operators of each other’s location. During the days of LAMCO, the control tower responsible for the movement of the locomotive was vibrant. Some victims recounted how AML locomotive operators were forced to use mobile phones to know the locations of other locomotives, which was risky in areas without network coverage. Despite several contacts, the communication department has yet to comment on the latest incident. AML is said to be operating six locomotives, with AML 095 being the latest to be brought into the country.
Source of information: liberianobserver .