Port of Melbourne has ordered a clean-up operation and instated an exclusion zone after up to 20 litres of a potentially dangerous chemical called ferric chloride was found leaking from a barrel in a shipping container.
The chemical, which can cause severe irritation, pain, and burns if it comes into contact with skin, was reported to be causing disruption at the port before 7pm on Wednesday as firefighters wearing full protective gear and breathing apparatus took more than four hours to contain the spill.
The Port of Melbourne, Worksafe, EPA, police and ambulance officers have also attended the scene and the affected container has been placed into a drainage area and the integrity of other barrels are also being checked.
The MFB has stated that there were no injuries and it poses no threat to the public and that crews are returning to the site to monitor a salvage operation today.
The spill follows yesterday’s news of a USD $1 million fine for shipping operator Toll Transport following the court verdict on the tragic death of a dockworker at the Port of Melbourne over two years ago.
An investigation by WorkSafe Victoria found that Toll's safety precautions were unsatisfactory and the requirement to have a member of staff observing the deck for persons was not enforced.