Air transport of dangerous lithium ion batteries investigated

This news article is in regards to air carrier safety regulations and the safety of the pilots and crew.  Recently, batteries used in electric bicycles were imported into Canada by plane and proceeded to explode while on the FedEx truck.  A separate instance was in Kentucky where 52 batteries were incorrectly packaged before being shipped to Canada.  This topic is very relevant because Dr. Battery, the shipper, is allegedly in violation of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act.  Charges against Dr. Battery are pending further investigation.  Additionally, think about how many products you own that use lithium ion batteries; now consider how these batteries get to where they need to go.  If things aren’t done safely the potential problems can be catastrophic.  An example of this is when a plane carrying 81,000 thousand lithium ion batteries left Dubai and caught fire mid-air resulting in a crash which killed both pilots.

In the case of Dr. Battery, an investigator asked to see their certificate for carrying dangerous good and supposedly it was only valid for road transport.  Come January 2013 the International Civil Aviation Organization will be setting tighter regulations for the shipping and packaging of lithium ion batteries.  On that note, the pilots who fly these cargo planes are also looking for tighter regulations.  These would include limiting the number of batteries per plane and notifying the crew of what’s on board.  In many instances, the crews are not told what they are shipping, just to get it there.  What the pilots would like to see is identification of all the batteries and the exact number so the pilots can rest assured that their cargo plane’s fire suppression system can handle the load.

They say the safest way to carry lithium ion batteries is in a passengers pocket as of now. I doubt this is the last we will see of this topic in the coming future.


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