MUA Backs Log Fumigation Offshore

The Union supports the decision to fumigate logs offshore but seeks detail on crew health and safety issues in a briefing tomorrow July 5


The Maritime Union of Australia has backed the Tasmanian Government decision against not fumigating logs in the hold of a ship in the port of Burnie but 3.7 kilometres - or about two nautical miles - offshore.


There had been concerns about the health impacts of the plan to fumigate the export logs with methyl bromide on the vessel and crew and the impact on businesses in the north-west Tasmanian town. The ship which will export the logs to China, the ID Black Sea, is due to arrive in Burnie between July the 9th and 11th.


The Minister for Energy and Resources Bryan Green said an exclusion zone will be set up around the ship carrying the logs, for the two days the process is expected to take.


"We've always said we would not compromise people's health, but those investigations have revealed that we can undertake the fumigation offshore and that's the decision that the Government has made”, Mr Green said.


The MUA’s Tasmanian branch secretary Jason Campbell said that the Union was due to be briefed by Tasports on the fumigation operation tomorrow, Monday July 5, including the whereabouts of crew during the treatment.


“While the Union has not been consulted until late in the process we welcome the Government decision to do the fumigation at sea which sees that employees of the port and the people of Burnie are protected. We now want to see that the health and safety of the seafarers is assured. As yet we are not certain whether there is provision for them to leave the vessel”, said Campbell.