LIQUID pitch in a damaged holding tank at the Port of Portland was pumped onto a ship that departed the harbour yesterday afternoon.
Nanjing Night Net

The ship arrived from Newcastle ahead of schedule and the pumping operation was quickly completed.

Country Fire Authority incident controller Tony Brown said the pitch that had leaked into the holding bund around the tank was still very hot and was being cooled by water.

“This is creating a steam cloud which may be visible,” Mr Brown said. “Minimal chemical vapours have been released during this incident and these are not at harmful levels in Portland.

“The air quality and wind direction is being continuously monitored to ensure the site remains safe. Monitoring is also occurring at other points.”

He said the tourist tram had recommenced operating and recreational boating and fishing would be able to resume with the ship’s departure. Existing road closures were also due to be removed late yesterday.

“CFA has significant resources at the scene and are being supported by other emergency services personnel. CFA have an incident management team at the Portland fire station,” Mr Brown said.

“The safety of the community and our emergency services personnel is of paramount importance in this incident.”

The state’s Health Department has produced a fact sheet dealing with the hazardous materials incident, available on its website.

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