Coode Island Committee Update

Note: CICCC would appreciate the cooperation of media staff in publicising the CICCC web site ( in any story that is run.

Potential lease extensions

At its meeting on 12 June 2003, George Horman, Australian Manager of Terminals Pty Ltd, told the committee that the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development (DIIRD) had proposed to extend Terminals’ leases on the east side of Mackenzie Road for a further 12 months to 31 January 2006. It appears that the lease extensions DIIRD have previously negotiated will still leave an unacceptable gap in the supply of some bulk chemicals to the Victorian chemical industry, during the period of construction of the Marstel plant.

Following CICCC warnings about “the gap” in August 2001, the Terminals leases were extended from January 2004 to 31 July 2004. In September 2002 the leases were extended again to the end of January 2005. Now it is proposed that they be extended a further year. So the gap that government first denied even existed now span two years.

The unintended consequences of the government decision to award the BP site to Marstel have been:

  • Delays in the implementation of Terminals Pty Ltd upgrade at Coode Island;
  • Increased costs to users of the affected chemicals over the period 2001 to 2006;
  • Increased congestion at No 1 Wharf, Maribyrnong, with additional pipelines now needed for seven chemicals;
  • Increased cost of duplication of infrastructure and manning;
  • Significant costs paid by industry and government to Terminals to secure extension of supply.



Site inspection of Terminals Pty Ltd facility

CICCC members made an inspection of Terminals’ facility at Coode Island prior to the meeting on 13 June. The inspections covered the new combustors, the computer based instrumentation for the combustors and for pressure levels in many tanks, and the recent work on tank integrity. The acrylate tanks are being raised, their steel bases repaired where necessary, and the concrete foundations repaired. New piping, improved safety feature, and a foam system to fight a bund fire are also being installed. The upgrading has been completed on three acrylate tanks, and seven more are in various stages of the upgrade process.

“The results of the rigorous checking of the tanks has been welcome”, George Horman, Terminals Australian Manager, said. “The last ten-year check involved only spot checks, where this time 100% testing of the tank bottoms has been done. The tank bottoms were in good shape, and required only selective patching.”

Both community and agency representatives commented on the significant improvement in good practice achieved by Terminals over the last two years.

New studies

Terminals advised the meeting of two recently completed studies, including a further HAZOP study and a Safety Integrity Level (SIL) study on the instrumentation at the facility. While welcoming these studies, community member Ian Thomas reminded Terminals of their duty to ensure that such studies are brought to the Committee’s attention prior to their conduct, to enable comment and participation from the Committee.

Kevin Shea, chair of the Coode Island Users Group who was invited to the meeting, told the Committee about the security study being carried out for Melbourne Ports Corporation by the Intelligent Outcomes Group, the study by MPC and DoI on buffer zones around the port, and further studies on truck movements in suburbs adjacent to Coode Island.

The CICCC resolved to invite MPC to its next meeting, and to seek involvement in these studies. Now that the EIP for the Terminals facility is completed, and the upgrading required is being progressively undertaken, the CICCC, in accordance with its charter, will have a greater focus on broader issues at Coode Island.

Pollution Abatement Notice on Maribyrnong No 1 Wharf

On 4 May 2001 the EPA served a Pollution Abatement Notice (PAN) on Melbourne Ports Corporation, who are the occupier of Maribyrnong Wharf No 1 Berth, to require improvements to the control of emission of hazardous and odorous vapours. Improvements to the wharf in accordance with the approved EIP are in progress. The wharf is also being upgraded to provide for the discharge of seven products to the new Marstel facility. The transfer facilities for the more toxic and odorous chemicals require a very high standard to ensure there are no emissions. Terminals intends to recommence the import of ethyl acrylate in the near future, and this product is extremely odorous.


Tank cleaning at the outer anchorage

EPA tabled a report on the tank cleaning operation on a bulk chemical tanker, the MS Stolt Lily, a 7,593 dead weight tonne Liberian flagged and Philippino crewed vessel built in 1988.

Usually when ships discharge a parcel of chemicals, they don’t have to wash out their tank immediately, and perform this operation on the high seas, en route to their next destination.

When a tank needs to be cleaned immediately, to get it ready to receive another parcel of a different chemical from Coode Island, Melbourne Port Corporation requires the tanker to leave the berth because of the risk of atmospheric emissions. The tanker must proceed to the outer anchorage (a large area off Point Cook) where the tank washing is undertaken with strict environmental controls. All the washing water is retained within the tanker for later safe disposal.

A copy of the informative report can be found on the CICCC web site.

Next meeting of the CICCC

The next meeting the CICCC will be held on Thursday 10th July 2003 at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting

Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 18 June 2003