Blast at Tilbury Port leaves grain store partially destroyed

The cause of the explosion will now be the subject of a 'detailed investigation' (Photo: Martin Dalton/Shutterstock)
The cause of the explosion will now be the subject of a 'detailed investigation' (Photo: Martin Dalton/Shutterstock)

A major incident was declared at the Port of Tilbury after the roof of a grain store was partially destroyed in a 'massive explosion'.

The Essex site, Britain's largest terminal for the import and export of grain, experienced a substantial explosion on Friday (3 July) at 09:55 BST.

A witness told BBC News the noise was 'horrendous' - 'like a bomb going off'. Another said 'flames shot up about 75m above the silos'.

Mark Cameron, who was on board a ship in the area at the time, said on Twitter: "There's just been an explosion in Tilbury harbour at the grain terminal - lifted the roof off.



"I just felt the ship shake so came up on deck, a colleague said the flame shot up about 75m (246ft) above the silos."

Several social media users in the area at the time of the incident have uploaded videos and photos of the aftermath of the blast.



A Port of Tilbury spokeswoman confirmed a 'major incident' had taken place at the grain terminal within the site.

But the port was operating as normal as of Saturday 4 July, and the site was not deemed to pose a risk, she added.

“The situation at the grain terminal has now been stabilised and the site is not viewed as posing any immediate further risk.

“The cause of the explosion will now be the subject of a detailed investigation by the relevant authorities and it will be some time until the results are known.”

Essex Fire and Rescue Service confirmed four fire engines attended the scene when the incident happened.

The East of England Ambulance Service said one person was treated at Basildon and Thurrock Hospital following smoke inhalation.



The site, built in 1969, marked its 50th anniversary in September 2019. It has processed more than 35m tonnes of grain since operations commenced.

The port presently handles two million tonnes of grain, wheat, barley and beans every year.