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ASMA On the Hunt for Canister Culprits

Australia’s Maritime Safety Authority (ASMA) recently started inquiries into a series of canisters washed up on a beach in Queensland. It is alleged that the canisters contained aluminium phosphide, a deadly poison. The ASMA is currently seeking to determine whether the canisters are from a deliberate attempt at pollution or if they were the inadvertent result of a cargo breach. The charges associated with either would be severe since aluminium phosphide can be deadly to both human as well as animal life. The ASMA has collaborated with scientists to determine if it is possible that the canisters could be from groundings or hull breaches in the wider Pacific region using a complex system of drift modeling. The ASMA has also checked recent reports of cargo losses, but there have been no reports of a vessel losing this type of cargo. Aluminum phosphide is an inorganic compound which has industrial uses as a semiconductor or a fumigant. It is the latter of these that make it deadly. It has been used in rodenticides, insecticides, as well as a fumigant, which have led to deaths previously. Aluminium phosphide could be harmful to both mammals and marine life. Its use as a poison… read more »