1. A huge explosion ripped through AZF (Azote de France) fertiliser factory in an industrial zone on the outskirts of Toulouse, southwest of France, on 21 September 2001. The explosion had occurred in a warehouse in which granular ammonium nitrate was stored flat, separated by partitions.

  2. The Zainab, a Georgian-flagged tanker, was carrying 1,300 tonnes of fuel oil when it sank off the port of Jebel Ali, south of Dubai. There were fears that the spill would reach the coastline and the desalination plants which supply Dubai with fresh water.

  3. A freighter carrying sulfuric acid sank in the Bay of Biscay off the northern coast of Spain on March 20, 2002. The Balu, a 24-year-old Maltese-registered ship, sank en route from Frederiksen, Denmark to the south of Spain. The ship was carrying about 8,000 tons of sulfuric acid when it sank about 136 miles north of the Spanish coast.

  4. On 16 January 2001, the Ecuadorean-registered tanker Jessica ran aground at Wreck bay, at the entrance to the port of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galápagos Province, located on the southwestern coast of San Cristóbal Island. A total of 800 000 litres of diesel and fuel oil spilled into the sea.