Dock dangers

Published: Thursday 15 July 2004

The Mumbai Port Trust (mpt) has issued a notice to shipping agents to strictly follow the norms for offloading hazardous chemicals. The directive came close on the heels of incidents of workers falling ill after opening unlabelled cargo consignments. The notice makes it clear that all dangerous goods should be handled under supervision, and in case of any doubt the assistant manager hazardous cargo or the safety office is to be consulted.

K R Shinde, assistant manager, hazardous cargo, mpt, said: "The shipping agents are responsible for the loading and unloading of goods. They have been instructed to carry out the procedure in compliance with the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code." He asserted that adequate precautions had been taken to prevent any such incidents from taking place in the future.

However, an mpt official alleged that barring routine security inspections, no special monitoring process had been put in place. According to the norms, shipping agents are required to label the cargo and hazardous contents have to be spelt out. Dockworkers must be forewarned while handling such cargo.

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