Dock worker overcome by fumes

By Juliette MaxamA DOCK worker was taken to hospital after he was overcome by fumes during a chemical incident at a port.The man was involved in a clean-up operation after a fertiliser container on board a ship from Holland was found to be leaking a liquid at Harwich port on Friday night.

By Juliette Maxam

A DOCK worker was taken to hospital after he was overcome by fumes during a chemical incident at a port.

The man was involved in a clean-up operation after a fertiliser container on board a ship from Holland was found to be leaking a liquid at Harwich port on Friday night.

The dock worker, who has not been named, was inside a container used to store cleaning supplies when he was overcome at about 9.50pm.

Sub-Officer Les Nicoll, from Dovercourt fire station, said the man had managed to get out of the container and close the doors before he collapsed.

The dock worker was taken to Colchester General Hospital suffering from eye irritation caused by the fumes.

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Firefighters wearing chemical protection suits went into the container to find out what chemicals were inside and found ammonium hydroxide and ammonia.

But while inside the container a firefighter fell over and tore his chemical suit. He had to go through a dry decontamination procedure and a medical check, but Mr Nicoll said he had been fine.

Four fire crews from Dovercourt and Colchester had first been called to the port two hours earlier to the report of a leak from a fertiliser container.

Mr Nicoll said fire crews had established the leaking liquid was water, either condensation or rain, from a heating unit at the back of the container.

The ship that carried the container from Europort, Holland, to Harwich carried out its own decontamination procedure and the port was responsible for its clean-up operation.

Paul Davey, corporate affairs manager for Hutchison Ports, which owns the Harwich dock, said the injured worker had been taken to hospital, where medical staff had washed out his eyes.

Mr Davey said the Health and Safety Executive had been informed of the incident.

juliette.maxam@eadt.co.uk

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