|Marines drive amphibious assault vehicles at the site of POSCO's steel mill in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, Tuesday, to rescue the company's workers from a fire and flooding. Courtesy of Republic of Korea Marine Corps|
By Park Jae-hyuk
POSCO and Hyundai Steel are feared to have suffered major damage from Typhoon Hinnamnor, which flooded their steel mills in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, and ruined their steel products there, according to industry officials, Tuesday.
When the super typhoon was passing through the southeastern port city early Tuesday morning, a fire broke out in an electrical room at one of POSCO's plants, while an abrupt power failure caused the automatic burning and release of by-product gas, creating clouds of black smoke and flames around the steel mill.
Four firefighters who extinguished the fire became temporarily trapped due to the flooding at the steel mill. Eighteen POSCO employees were also trapped in the factory due to the flooding. All of them were eventually rescued, and no casualties have been reported as of Tuesday afternoon.
|Black smoke and flames rise from POSCO's steel mill in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, Tuesday. Yonhap|
POSCO said that it will announce the exact extent of the damage after a thorough inspection of the facilities.
Some industry officials expect a potential setback in the supply of steel products from POSCO's steel mill, given that most of the products impacted by the flooding are likely to be recycled as scrap. It is also uncertain when the steelmaker will resume the operation of its blast furnace, which has been suspended since Monday night in preparation for the typhoon.
The longer the suspension continues, the heavier the costs POSCO will face.
On the same day, an energy storage system facility in Hyundai Steel's steel mill in Incheon also caught fire, injuring a firefighter and destroying a building. The cause of the fire is unknown.
Another of the company's steel mills in Pohang reportedly suffered a power failure. Steel products piled in the steel mill's warehouse are also said to have been damaged by the flooding from the heavy rainfall. Typhoon Hinnamnor poured 387.7 millimeters of rain on Pohang.