Statement from the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA)
San Francisco, CA (November 1, 2011) — The following statement was released today by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) in regard to safeguards for handling refrigerated containers originating in or traveling through all ports in Vietnam:
Internationally, ports handle refrigerated cargo containers carrying produce and other cargo. In recent months, at ports located in other parts of the world, four refrigerated containers ruptured, resulting in three mechanics being killed.
North American-based shipping industry officials, in conjunction with governmental agencies including the United States Coast Guard, have conducted a comprehensive review to determine the source of the problem and isolate and repair at-risk containers.
All indications point to maintenance work conducted on refrigerated units processed at the Port of Kat Lai in Vietnam. As a precaution, all refrigerated containers that were either transported through or originated in any port in Vietnam are being identified upon arrival at West Coast ports in the United States and those that have been worked on in Kat Lai isolated for special handling.
The PMA is working with ILWU locals along the coast on agreements that protect workers while keeping the ports operating. Already, an agreement at the nation's largest port complex in Southern California is in place, and the PMA continues to work with locals at other ports, including Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma. Employee safety and well-being are our top concern.
The principal business of the PMA is to negotiate and administer maritime labor agreements with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Our member companies are cargo carriers, terminal operators and stevedores that operate at West Coast ports, where overall cargo movement supports 8 million U.S. jobs.