The Chinese crew on board the Hong Kong Flagged Bulk Carrier, ID Black Sea Tasmania are being placed in a potentially dangerous situation later today as the cargo of logs on the vessel is fumigated with the toxic chemical Methyl Bromide while the crew are aboard and the ship is at anchor off the port of Burnie.
Despite the normal practice of fumigating vessels whilst alongside in Australian Ports, authorities in Tasmania have decided to send the vessel out to anchorage because of the protests of the local communities to the dangers of Methyl Bromide both in Bell Bay and Burnie.
While the move to fumigate offshore may have been taken with the best intentions it's a decision that has been taken without consideration of the health and safety of of the Chinese crew for whom exposure to the methyl bromide could prove deadly.
MUA's Tasmanian State Secretary Jason Campbell's made his concerns for the crew exposure known to authorities but otherwise there's been little or no mention of the crew.
International Transport Workers" Federation Australia and London are aware of the concerns of the communities in both these Ports but are primarily and always concerned about the Safety of Crews' onboard vessels throughout the world.
The Chinese crew's health and well being should be first and foremost in the minds of all concerned when a decision was being made to lock down the crew in accommodation quarters while fumigation takes place onboard the vessel while at anchor.
Normal practice internationally, in line with IMO regulations, is to fumigate alongside a wharf and evacuate the vessel until the fumigation has taken place.
Matt Purcell 0418387966
ITF Assistant Co-Coordinator Australia