The International Transport Workers’ Federation has put to question Chevron’s management of Gorgon LNG project evacuation procedures in the wake of recent cyclone threat.
More than 1,000 workers were stranded on Barrow Island, off the north-west coast of Australia, after Chevron decided not to evacuate its workforce ahead of the arrival of the Category Three Cyclone, Olwyn, according to the union.
ITF President Paddy Crumlin said many of these workers were expected to sleep on blow-up mattresses on floors and in corridors in what appeared to be sub-standard conditions.
“Chevron missed its window in evacuating workers who are now unnecessarily stranded on Barrow Island in the midst of a severe tropical cyclone,” Mr 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.”
In addition, ITF said that a support vessel for the Gorgon Project, The Europa, has done its best to avoid the cyclone. However, the union said it received information that the vessel had been battling eight metre swells.
The ITF quoted an email from a Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) member saying many onboard were 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 ITF quoted the email as saying.
Mr Crumlin said Chevron has mismanaged the Gorgon 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,” he said.
“Workers were left scared and confused and you really have to question Chevron’s management of this entire episode.”