Minggu, 26 April 2009

How They Handle The 3 kg LPG Bottles at Tanjung Priuk Port



LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) – in Indonesia often spelled as “elpiji” – is a type of fuel as a secondary product of oil or gas refinery. So it can be either come from crude oil or natural gas. What is the difference between LPG and LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) then? LPG mostly contains propane (C-3) and butane (C-4). LNG – around 90% of it – contains methane (C-1), and then the rest is ethane (C-2), propane, and butane. The liquefied gas that we use for home cooking is LPG. While LNG is what Indonesia exports to overseas countries. Indonesia used to be the biggest LNG exporter in the world, but this position now has been taken over by Qatar, leaving Indonesia as the second biggest LNG exporter.

After Government of Indonesia (GOI) implemented an energy policy to convert kerosene to LPG early last year, when the crude oil price kept hiking almost touched USD 150 per barrel, the 3 kg LPG bottles become very popular. The 3 kg bottled packing is the LPG used by GOI to push people (mostly low class) to convert their home-cooking fuel from kerosene to LPG. The color of this 3 kg LPG bottle is very eye-catching: yellowish green.

Last week, when I and a group of four people went to Tanjung Priuk port for the purpose of inspecting a logistics company, I saw – by accident – at least two things: (1) how people at the port handling the empty 3 kg LPG bottles, and (2) how safety regulation is implemented inside an “international port”.

How do we handle gas bottle at home? If this question is raised to ourselves, the answer is – almost 100% sure – that we handle the gas bottle with extra care, despite being empty, because LPG is classified as a dangerous good – flammable and easy to explode. So not even small leak is allowed to the gas bottle.

What I saw inside the harbor quite shocked me. The bottles were packed in loose, which were supposed to be palletized or put in wooden boxes. When they unloaded the bottles from a truck container, the bottles were kick out and dropped down to the ground. From the ground they then threw the bottles to another container for further distribution. I don’t know whether this rough handling method is a standard procedure for fragile item like gas bottles. I think not. No wonder why many people often complain the quality of bottles. Sometimes found leaked around welded area. Sometimes found leaked at outlet valve. Very dangerous for LPG consumers.

Second thing is about safety implementation inside Tanjung Priuk. Being as international port with ISPS (International Safety and Port Security) Code certification, the port authority must have been implementing strict safety rules. There, at Tanjung Priuk port, I saw a lot of people did not wear safety shoes and helmets when performing their cargo handling activities. Safety implementation is very loose. No wonder why in year 2007 United States boycotted Indonesian-flag carriers (ships) – prohibited the carriers entering United States – before Indonesia seriously implement safety and security standards in all its international ports.

What I’ve learned from above is that the safety consciousness in Indonesia is still very low. Weak implementation by authorities has worsened the situation. The consciousness comes when there is an accident. And when an accident really happens, the consciousness is already late – useless, because the accident brings either a fatal injury or even a death. Safety is not yet become part of people’s culture.

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