Firefighters mop up spill
A hazardous chemical spill near the Interislander ferry terminal in Picton early yesterday morning took more than five hours to cleanup and forced the cancellation of two ferries.
Picton firefighters were called to the terminal about 12.30am yesterday after a leak was discovered coming from a truck containing dangerous chemicals.
Picton chief fire officer Wayne Wytenburg said the truck was parked in front of the loading ramp to the ferry ready to drive on when the ferry berthed.
The leak came from one of the 20-litre containers loaded on the truck, Mr Wytenburg said. All 32 containers had to be unloaded to find out which one was leaking.
The load included several "very nasty chemicals", so a command unit from Nelson that dealt with hazardous chemical spills was called, he said.
Two Picton fire trucks and a unit from Blenheim were also called.
Firefighters contained the area and established the size of the spill and what chemicals were involved, Mr Wytenburg said.
The Nelson unit cleaned up the spill and none had gone into the harbour or any drains, he said.
The ferry, due in for the 2.30am sailing, was delayed by two hours and the marshalling yard and rail yard shut down.
"One of the first things due off the ferry was LPG bullets in big, bulk containers," Mr Wytenburg said.
"The risk of a spark could cause a chemical explosion. It was dangerous stuff."
Interislander spokeswoman Sophie Lee said the spill delayed the 2.30am Aratere sailing from Picton by two hours. Crossings from Wellington to Picton at 6.30am and Picton to Wellington at 10.30am were cancelled.
- The Marlborough Express