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Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 1998-99: VUWAE 43


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There are some hazardous substances located at each of the three areas of operation on the Project. For reasons of personal safety, environmental protection and equipment protection personnel should be aware of what these substances are, their storage location, who is responsible for them and what to do in case of damage, leakage, or inappropriate storage. The substances are:


1. FOL Types. These include JP8, Jet A1, Mogas (petrol), Two-stroke mix (mogas and oil), lubricating oils (eg.Mobil Delvac 1330), hydraulic fluid (Mobil DTE 11M), Anti-freeze Radiator Protector (glycol), CRC lubricant products, Isopropyl Alcohol, brake fluid, used/contaminated FOL and oily rags. JP8 and Jet A1 are a kerosine/diesel type fuel and make up over 90% of the fuel stock; approximately 300 × 209 litre (44 gal) drums. Other FOL are stored in 209 litre and 60 litre drums and 20 and 4 litre plastic containers.

2. Storage Areas and Responsibility. Fuels are stored outside at all three operational locations and on sledges. On Cape Roberts the drums are on three fuel racks on the western side of the storage area. No vehicles should be driven in the vicinity of the fuel racks except for the express purpose of loading or unloading drums. Mogas is stored in red drums and Two-stroke mix in drums with red and green lids. All three fuels (JP8, Mogas, two-stroke) can be stored in red 20 litre plastic containers. Check the metal identification tags for content.

3. The remaining oils and lubricants are only kept in small quantities and are found in the green 'Italian' tents at the main Camp and at the Drill Site or in the two workshops at these sites. The 'used oil' drum is in the Italian tent at CR Camp.

4. Day to day responsibility for FOL at all storage sites lies with Jeremy Ridgen, Brian Howat and Murray Knox.

5. Hazard of FOL and Action To Take. The two main hazards are FIRE and POLLUTION. It is important that all of us accept responsibility for safe handling, storage and usage of these products.
a.Fire precautions are no smoking or naked flame near any FOL, and correct procedures when using or handling FOL. Dry-powder low-temperature fire extinguishers are clearly situated at or near all fuel storage and usage sites. Given the limited capability to fight a fuel fire it is probably more important to isolate and contain it. This could be done by moving other fuel, combustibles and valuable equipment away. There are two sets of breathing apparatus (BA) at CR Camp and Drill Site. These are only to be used to rescue someone trapped by fire or gas - they are not to be used to fight a fire.page 2
b.Pollution can be avoided or minimised by correct handling, storage and usage procedures, regular inspections of stored FOL, use of drip trays and absorbent materials. Spill kits, which contain absorbant pads, rolls, plastic bags and gloves are located on fuel sleds and at main refuelling site at CR Camp. Spare pads are in the Italian tent at CR Camp and in the Italian storage container on Cape Roberts. If a leak or spill is detected absorbent pads and 'rolls' should be used to mop up FOL and all contaminated snow, ice or gravels collected for further disposal. Action is to be taken to stop the leak or spill at source.

6. FOL do not pose a significant risk to health (fire excluded) provided sensible precautions are taken, eg. wear suitable gloves and do not inhale the fumes.


7. Gas Types. The gases, stored under pressure in cylinders, are oxygen, acetylene, ethyl ether and LPG. Oxygen and acetylene are used by the engineers for gas cutting and brazing. There are also four smaller cylinders of medical oxygen. LPG gas is used for cooking and is stored in 9kg cylinders. Ethyl ether is used as a diesel motor starter.

8. Storage Areas and Responsibilities. Oxygen and acetylene cylinders are stored in the Italian and 'red' storage containers on Cape Roberts and in the Italian tent at CR Camp. There are Oxy-acetylene sets at both the CR Camp and Drill Site. They may be temporarily left wherever they are being used. LPG cylinders are with the BBQ at CR Camp, in the Mess Hut at Cape Roberts and in NZ1 and NZ3 at the Drill Site. LPG cylinders have been temporarily removed from NZ9 and NZ10 while they are being used for accommodation. The small 'Quick Start' red ethyl ether cylinders are stored in the Italian tent at CR Camp. Jeremy Ridgen and Brian Howat are responsible for these cylinders.

9. The four cylinders of medical oxygen are with the medical equipment in the cubicle in the drying room. They are the responsibility of Colleen Clarke.

10. Hazard of Gases and Action To Take. The two main hazards of gases are FIRE/EXPLOSION and INHALATION (except oxygen). All the above gases are inflammable or will aid combustion and therefore it is important they are kept away from heat, naked flame or sparks. These gases should not be inhaled, especially in a confined space. Gas cylinders should be treated as for fire, ie. isolate, contain and remove other combustible materials and equipment from vicinity.


11. There are two types of explosives used in the Project. One type is to be used in the down-hole logging process and the other, known as a Colliding Detonation Cutter (CDC) is used to cut the Sea Riser casing at the sea floor at the end of the drilling. Both explosive types are stored in the explosives wannigan, NZX2, on Cape Roberts. The wannigan is kept locked. The detonators are stored in a clearly marked wooden box at the rear of the red storage container. The people responsible for the explosives are Jim Cowie and Alex Pyne.

12. During drilling one CDC and a small number of detonators are kept at the Drill Site. The detonators are in a small red box and the CDC in a wooden box (1m × 150mm × 150mm). Both are clearly labelled. At the Drill Site Alex Pyne is responsible for these explosives.

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13. Battery Acid (sulphuric acid). There are two 20 litre clear plastic containers of battery acid. Each is kept in the Italian tent at the Drill Site and CR Camp. The person responsible for this acid is Jeremy Ridgen.

14. Hydrochloric Acid. A 500ml plastic bottle of 10% hydrochloric acid is kept in the CR Camp Laboratory where small amounts are used by the sedimentologists. This strength acid is about twice the acidity of vinegar, but it is still capable of damaging skin and eyes. The person responsible for the acid is Dr Ross Powell.

15. Lime-Away. This is a caustic soda-based cleaning agent for removing scale in pipes. It is poisonous and will burn the skin. It is in a 1 litre red plastic container in the CR Camp workshop. The person responsible for it is Brian Reid.

16. Calcium Chloride (CaCl). CaCl is used as an accelerant in the curing of cement in the drill hole. It comes in cystal form in clearly labelled 25kg bags. It is stored on Cape Roberts with the drill muds and also at the Drill Site, also with the drill muds. In its dry form, and even more so when mixed with water, it is a skin, eyes and respiratory irritant. The results of prolonged exposure can be severe. It is corrosive to metals when moist or dissolved in water.

17. When working with CaCI ensure skin is covered. A dust mask is advised. Safety glasses should be worn especially when it is dissolved in water. The persons responsible for the CaCI the Drill Manager and the 'mud doctors' on each shift.

18. Radianuclide. A small radioactive source, Cs-137, is used in core scanning analysis at the DS Laboratory. This source is enclosed in a lead-lined cylinder labelled with the radioactive logo. Protected as it is the radioactive source is harmless but for obvious safety reasons the cylinder is not to be touched or a hand placed in the area where the beam scans the core . When not in use scanning core the radioactive source is closed off. The person responsible for the radionuclide is Dr Frank Neissen.

19. The radioactive source conforms to international standards in terms of its storage, transportation and use. If for example, the Laboratory was destroyed by fire it is highly unlikely the container would sustain any damage likely to result in a leak or contamination.

Jim Cowie

Cape Roberts Project Manager