Note: CICCC would appreciate the cooperation of media staff in publicising the CICCC web site (http://www.ciccc.org) in any story that is run.
CICCC Update—20 September 2007 Meeting
Terminals’ Coode Island Open Day
Terminals Pty Ltd is hosting an Open Day at its Coode Island facility on Saturday 20 October 2007. The site is at 70-78 Mackenzie Road, West Melbourne (Melway 42 E9 — use the southern exit off Footscray Road just east of the Maribyrnong River Bridge).
Terminals has produced a Newsletter to be released at the same time as the Open Day. The Newsletter is in two parts, two pages authored by Terminals, and two pages authored by the CICCC. The Terminals pages outline the purpose of the Coode Island storage facility, and the improvements made over the past five years.
The two pages of the Newsletter authored by the CICCC give a short profile of the Community Representatives, a summary of the achievements of the Committee, and a short discussion of the major issues which it is addressing.
The Newsletter is available on the CICCC web site at HYPERLINK “http://www.ciccc.org.au” www.ciccc.org.au
On-site Nitrogen manufacture
Terminals Pty Ltd has commissioned an on-site nitrogen generator, to avoid having to buy it commercially. Nitrogen is used to fill the space in tanks above flammable materials — called “Nitrogen Blanketing” — as a fire-prevention measure.
Only 96% purity is required for blanketing, rather than the more expensive higher quality nitrogen available commercially, resulting in energy and cost savings. The on-site generator produces nitrogen gas, as distinct from the liquid nitrogen previously transported to site. Energy and greenhouse gas savings result from avoiding the nitrogen transport from off-site, avoiding cooling it for road transport, and not producing it at an unnecessarily high purity.
Ship unloading and safe communication
For some time Terminals Pty Ltd has had concerns about communications with chemical tankers unloading at Maribyrnong No 1 wharf. Although the ship’s chief officer, who usually speaks English, does the necessary paper work when a ship berths, the level of English of the ship’s officers in charge during the changing shifts while the ship is discharging its chemical parcels is sometimes so poor that effective communication in an emergency would be impossible. Use of English in such situations is an International Safety requirement.
Terminals management has now directed that in cases where the level of English spoken by the officer of the watch is inadequate to ensure safety, discharging will cease.
The CICCC strongly endorses Terminals’ approach, and will write to the Port of Melbourne Authority, documenting its concerns, and asking the Port to monitor and enforce the regulations generally, in the interests of community safety.
On 15 September 2007 an ethyl acrylate spill from a 25 tonne shipping container at the premises of DP World (formerly P&O Ports) at Coode Island resulted in the attendance of about 60 fire fighters, and an evacuation zone extending one kilometre from the spill site.
Williamstown resident Suzy Goldsmith, who attended the CICCC meeting, advised that when people smelt the release, many rang the Williamstown Police Station. The police had no more information on the situation than was generally available from the radio/TV. This raises two important issues. First, that residents were sufficiently concerned to contact police and were unable to obtain information to allay their concerns. Second, that scarce police resources were tied up handling a constant stream of phone calls from local residents. Communications that were provided in the press did not sufficiently address the reasonable concerns of people smelling the release. The situation also reiterates the need for effective emergency communication where advice needs to be provided for improved community safety.
The CICCC will write to those involved in responding to such emergencies and to the Plastics and Chemicals Industry Association (PACIA), requesting a review of the communications plans for emergencies, both for the purposes of allaying community concerns and for the more urgent situation where action is required for public safety. Such a review could take account of the possible role of council information lines and the internet.
Next meeting of the CICCC
The next meeting of the CICCC will be held on Thursday 22 October 2007 at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm.
Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, September 2007