Tuesday, December 7, 2010

CG Inspectors Help Bring Waterfront Facility Into Compliance—Part I

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard “Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council” magazine by LT Tiffany Johnson, Chief, Shoreside Compliance, U.S. Coast Guard Sector New York.

Part I—The Problem

New Operations Trigger Coast Guard Involvement
When facility managers of a waterfront warehouse notified the Coast Guard that it would be receiving barges for biofuel marine transfers after a 13-year hiatus, Coast Guard inspectors were dispatched to conduct a safety and security inspection and found numerous structural, safety, and security problems.

The warehouse contained undocumented and improperly stored hazardous substances, corrosive materials, and flammable liquids. The basement, filled with unlabeled drums and packages, flooded after heavy rainstorms. The roof above the fifth floor was dilapidated, providing little protection to the hazardous materials stored there, and the building’s sprinkler system did not work.

And It Gets Worse
To top it all off, the building was just yards from the Passaic River and one block from a residential area and shopping center. Since the facility was not in a safe condition, it received a captain of the port order to suspend all hazmat and oil transfer activities.

The story could have ended here. Coast Guard inspectors had done their jobs. They identified a hazardous situation and took action to protect the workers within the facility, the many citizens that lived or shopped nearby, and other workers in the area.

Keep the Businesses in Business
But Coast Guard involvement continued. During the initial meeting with the owner/operator, the incident commander explained that the Coast Guard’s intention was to help his facility stay in operation, and an incident management team was created to oversee the clean up.

In part II we will examine the challenges.

For More Information:
Full article is available at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/winter2009.

Subscribe online at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/subscribe.asp.