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Index > Gas industry accidents > 2004 Ethanol explosion, Port Kembla Steelworks

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The following press release retrieved from the Australia Worker's Union Website on 16th November 2013 is published in full:

AWU Calls for Inquiry into Ethanol Explosion

Wednesday 28th January 2004 11:00 The Australian Workers’ Union has called for the NSW State Government to immediately convene an inquiry into the explosion this morning of an Ethanol Tank behind the Port Kembla steelworks.

The AWU, which represents the workers at the plant, said that whilst there were no fatalities from the incident an inquiry is needed to find out how such a facility could explode.

The storage tank is still burning with flames leaping up to 30 metres in the air, it is expected that it will take some time before the fire is brought under control. The tank is adjacent Bluescope Steel Coke Ovens at Port Kembla, it contains seven million litres of Ethanol and is operated by ethanol producer Manildra Group.

AWU Port Kembla Branch Secretary Andy Gillespie, who was 350 metres from the tank when it exploded, said that the AWU is relieved that no members were killed, however the AWU remains concerned about the safety of the plant altogether.

“We were extremely lucky today that no one was killed, however how is it in this day and age that a high risk facility such as an Ethanol storage tank can explode?.” Mr. Gillespie said.

AWU National Secretary Bill Shorten said the images of the flame leaping high above the Bluescope Steelworks conjured up images of the Longford Gasplant explosion from 6 years ago.

“Incidents such as this one at Port Kembla, the Santos Gas Plant explosion at Moomba and the incident at Longford in 1998 shouldn’t happen. Today hundreds of workers were put at risk and now we need to determine why this happened. The State Government as a matter of priority needs to announce an inquiry into the incident.” Mr. Shorten said.

http://www.awu.net.au/news/awu-calls-inquiry-ethanol-explosion


 

 

 

 

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