ITF urges for investigation into Chevron’s Gorgon evacuation procedures
The International Transport Workers’ Federation said it held concerns for the welfare of workers trapped on Barrow Island as they prepared for the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Olwyn.
“More than 1,000 workers were stranded on Barrow Island, off the north-west coast of Australia, after Chevron stuffed up plans to evacuate its workforce ahead of the arrival of the Category Three Cyclone,” ITF said in a statement.
ITF President Paddy Crumlin said many of these workers were expected to sleep on blow-up mattresses on floors and in corridors.
“Chevron missed its window in evacuating workers who are now unnecessarily stranded on Barrow Island in the midst of a severe tropical cyclone,” Crumlin said at the time of the cyclone approaching.
“You’ve got to wonder why Chevron kept people working until it was unsafe to evacuate them.
“There needs to be a proper investigation into why this has happened because it is Chevron’s fault that the workers are still there.”
A support vessel for the Gorgon LNG project, The Europa, has done its best to avoid the cyclone but the union is being told the vessel has been battling eight metre swells.
An email from a Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) member says many onboard are sea sick and unable to leave their rooms.
“Half the staff are sick to their stomachs due to the outrageous weather conditions, the glass window shattered on the galley near the dining room, and the waves are nearly as big as half the boat,” the email says.
“People are just getting weaker/sicker by the day and don’t know how to react!”
According to Crumlin, Chevron has mismanaged the Gorgon LNG project since its inception.
“Gorgon is a multi-billion dollar project requiring thousands of workers on Barrow Island yet there is not enough accommodation to house the workers adequately in an emergency,”.
“Workers were left scared and confused and you really have to question Chevron’s management of this entire episode.
“It’s not the first time Chevron’s management has been called into question – after all the Gorgon project is already 18 months late and more than $17 billion over budget,” Crumlin added.