Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
A stevedore suffered sickness and disorientation after handling cans containing fumigant while discharging cargo at No 3 Alexander berth in the Port of Liverpool from the general cargo vessel Thorco Angela*.
The circumstances of the incident are recorded in (United Kingdom) Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) preliminary assessment (PA) summary number 4/22: Thorco Angela published on 18 May 2022.
Aluminium phosphide fumigant
In July 2021, 8000t of bagged sweet potato product was loaded into the cargo holds of Thorco Angela in Rizhao, China. While loading, shore stevedores and, at a later time during the load, Thorco Angela’s crew, placed cans and pouches of aluminium phosphide fumigant between the bags of cargo. On 19 July, Thorco Angela departed Rizhao for northern Europe, and carried out scheduled crew changes during the voyage that included the master, chief officer, second officer and third officer.
At 1745 on 10 October, Thorco Angela berthed in Liverpool. At 1955, stevedores subcontracted to Peel Ports Liverpool started cargo discharge. The stevedores found open cans containing powder among the cargo and alerted their supervisor. At 2200, cargo work was suspended and the stevedores waited in a mess room on the quay.
In the early hours of the next morning, one of the stevedores became unwell and was taken to hospital suffering with nausea, loss of balance, and nerve damage to his hand; he had an extended absence from work while recuperating. After the accident, Thorco Angela’s crew removed some of the fumigant from the cargo holds. A specialist contractor subsequently removed 150kg of fumigant from Thorco Angela’s cargo holds.
The MAIB preliminary assessment identified that:
As a result of the MAIB’s preliminary assessment, The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to Peel Ports Liverpool advising them of the safety issues identified and highlighted the guidance regarding fumigated cargo emergency response planning detailed in the Department for Transport publication A Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations.**
The Chief Inspector has also written to the vessel’s managers Auerbach MARINE GmbH & Co. KG notifying them of the shortfalls in Thorco Angela’s officers’ actions and the failure of the company SMS.
Peel Ports Liverpool has carried out an internal investigation into the accident and committed to the addition of cargo fumigation status to its vessel cargo work checklist and development of fumigation awareness training for its management, supervisors, and stevedores.
Flag: Marshall Islands; classification society Det Norske Veritas; built 1997; loa 139.96m; gt 9938; minimum safe manning 13.
**a copy of A Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations can be found here:https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/854521/MCGA-Port_Marine_Guide_to_Good_Practice_NEW-links.pdf
See also fumigant handling advice published by GARD:
And West of England P&I Club:
This item is taken from www.gov.uk/maib-reports/ and is reproduced here by kind permission.
MAIB Crown Copyright 2022 ©.
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