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Chemical leak at port: workers rushed to hospital

By —Joel Julien

A CHEMICAL leak aboard a vessel at the Port of Port of Spain yesterday caused seve­ral workers to be rushed to hospital and a section of the port to be shut down for some five hours.
According to reports, around 2 a.m., there was a leak of diluted sulphuric acid from a consignment belonging to Specialist Chemicals Ltd.
The incident took place on Bay 13.
Three workers complained about feeling unwell and were rushed to the Port of Spain General Hospital. The doctors gave the employees a clean bill of health and the trio all returned to work.
One of the employees, however, complained of still feeling sick when he returned to work.
He was sent back to the hospital for further examinations.
The leak was said to have occurred on the deck of a vessel, which was moved to a section of the port that was evacuated.
The area of the leak was “cleansed and sanitised” and measures were taken to avoid any further contamination.
The deck was washed down.
Public relations manager of the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago Betty Ann Gibbons yesterday confirmed the incident, saying a “very minor leak of diluted sulphuric acid had occurred”.
Gibbons said the safety officers at the port were able to get the situation under control.
President of the Seamen and Waterfront Workers’ Trade Union (SWWTU) Michael Annisette yesterday said the union’s safety officer met with officials on the issue of the leak.
An investigation is to be launched to determine the cause.
Annisette said luckily for the affected workers, the sulphuric acid was diluted or else the repercussions could have been “dangerous and hazardous”.
Annisette called for mechanisms and processes to be put in place to avoid a recurrence.
—Joel Julien
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