An explosion and subsequent fire in a cargo tanker caused the ship to sink along with its cargo of iron pellets. EMSL was asked to determine if the cargo of iron pellets, known as Direct Reduced Iron (DRI), could have caused the accident. Analysis with the SEM revealed aberrations in the protective coating applied to the pellets which allowed access points for moisture to contact the sensitive inner surface of the DRI. Analysis was then performed to measure and identify gasses produced from the pellets when exposed to the conditions indicative of a ships hold. It was determined that the DRI pellets would act as a catalyst to separate the hydrogen and oxygen in the water vapor found in the ships holds. Furthermore; the cargo was sufficient to replace the air in the holds, three times over, with a combination of free hydrogen and oxygen. One spark is all it would take to ignite the hydrogen that would then be fed by the oxygen resulting in an explosion capable of causing the accident that befell the cargo ship.