A fumigation company contracted to a log exporter had an incident at Napier Port on Saturday 27 August, in which a tarpaulin tore in a wind gust while logs were being fumigated for export.
Although the fumigant used (methyl bromide) dissipates very quickly, there are specific exclusion zones in place to cover situations such as this. However, two workers in an adjacent area but outside the exclusion zone were tested for exposure as a precautionary measure and all tests came back negative.
Fumigation of logs is a requirement prior to export and the operation is carried out by an Environmental Protection Agency-approved fumigator under stringent protocols including exclusion zones and site work alerts. Levels of fumigant are monitored continuously while the operation is underway using gas detection devices. We have two fumigation companies operating on port and they are contracted directly by log exporters.
Napier Port takes any uncontrolled release very seriously. We are awaiting the outcome of the contractor’s investigation into the incident, and will be looking at the learnings from that investigation and the steps that can be taken in future to prevent this type of incident.