Ammonium nitrate was a notoriously volatile cargo, so much so that many ports refused to accept ships carrying it. It was clear that the decision of the Grandcamp’s captain to flood the hold with steam was what lead to the immediate explosion, although it was uncertain if any firefighting method would have been able to contain the fire and prevent disaster. The United States government was eventually sued by the survivors of the blast for negligence leading to the death and destruction. It was claimed that the port did not possess adequate fire fighting equipment or fire prevention policies, and that the transport and storage of ammonium nitrate had been allowed to occur under the loosest of supervision by regulatory agencies.
The government successfully defended itself against these charges, but survivors were eventually compensated to the tune of $17 million dollars thanks to a separate act of Congress. The event remains the worst industrial accident to have occurred in the United States, suggesting that the safety lessons learned from the incident made significant changes to several industries.