European ports tighten checks amid radiation fears of Japanese vessels

 11 Apr 2011 11.14am

  • European ports tighten safety checks as Japanese vessels approach

  • Rotterdam and Antwerp Ports implement strategic methods to combat fears

  • US Port of San Francisco also using radiation detectors

Major European ports have taken action amid the growing fears of the levels of radiation of ships leaving Japan and heading for Europe.

The largest port in Europe at Rotterdam has taken the extreme measure of screening ships cargo whilst at sea to minimise the risk of contamination in port. The Port of Antwerp is making similar checks with any signs of abnormal levels of radiation being inspected by Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control.

The first ships to arrive in Europe, since the earthquake that devastated North-eastern Japan, are expected within the next week as they complete their month long journey across the globe. The first ship to dock at the Port of Antwerp will undergo a thorough inspection, with random checks being carried out on vessels arriving there after, according to Bloomberg.

“People working in the port and responsible for unloading ships and cargo from Japan are worried,” Antwerp spokeswoman, Annik Dirkx, told Bloomberg. “That’s why we want to do this, to show that there is really no reason,” Dirkx concluded.

US ports are also taking precautionary action with the New York Times reporting that the Port of San Francisco is putting to use its radiation detectors, that are usually put in use in circumstances such as terror and nuclear bomb alerts. However, since checks on cargo originating from Japan have begun, there have been no signs of radiation within any food containers, auto parts or electronic goods at the port.

As PTI reported last week major shipping lines are continuing to operate within Japanese waters, with the Japanese maritime authorities openly encouraging seatrade.

The further 7.1-magnitude earthquake last Thursady spared the stricken Fukushima plant, although workers struggling to cool radioactive fuel were evacuated, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said, based on its initial assessment.

  Carriers, Container Handling, Port Planning