Kim Jong-nam assassinated by VX (nerve agent)

News reports states Kim Jong-nam, eldest son of Kim Jong-il and half-brother of Kim Jong-un was assassinated by using VX (nerve agent) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Read the news here

VX never agent , O-ethyl S-[2-(diisopropylamino)ethyl] methylphosphonothioate, is listed under Schedule 1:A, Toxic chemicals, under The chemical Weapon Convention (CWC) and has no known commercial use other than the use in chemical warfare

The Chemical Weapon Convention groups the chemicals under three schedules which are:

  • Schedule 1:  High risk chemicals which have no use in the commercial industry.
  • Schedule 2:  Toxic chemicals having significant risk; not generally produced commercially in large quantities.
  • Schedule 3: Toxic chemicals produced large scale commercially for legitimate purposes but also have potential to be used in chemical weapons.

The most important question is how the assassins could bring VX nerve agent to the airport, how and why security measures at airports couldn’t detect this?


Security for Dangerous Goods in Transport is as vital as compliance to safety.

Chapter 1.4 of IMDG Code deals with Security provisions.  Any shore-based company personnel, ship-based personnel and port facility personnel engaged in the transport of dangerous goods should be aware of the security requirements for such goods, in addition to those specified in the ISPS Code, and commensurate with their responsibilities.

Further High consequence dangerous goods are those which have the potential for misuse in a terrorist event and which may, as a result, produce serious consequences such as mass casualties, mass destruction or, particularly for class 7, mass socio-economic disruption.

Is your transport organization secure?

Further reading

High consequence Dangerous Goods & Security

 

Chemical Weapons – IMDG Code

 

End User Certificate – Dangerous and Embargoed Goods

 

Shipping Lines’ Acceptance Process – DANGEROUS GOODS

3 comments

  1. Dear Shashi,

    What would be UN code for VX ? I guess UN 2016 ammunition, toxic, non-explosive would be a good code ? Thank you for your advice?

    1. Hello Keifer,

      Good Morning! Transport of VX is absolutely prohibited under Chemical Weapon Convention however in case of need to transport for analysis or destruction under the convention then The most appropriate entry for transporting same is

      UN 3315 CHEMICAL SAMPLE, TOXIC 6.1 PG I

      .

      This entry may only be used for samples of chemicals taken for analysis in connection with the implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction. The transport of substances under this entry shall be in accordance with the chain of custody and security procedures specified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The chemical sample may only be transported providing prior approval has been granted by the competent authority or the Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. During transport, the packaging shall be accompanied by a copy of the document of approval for transport, showing the quantity limitations and the packing requirements.

      Regards/Shashi

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