Shipping agents for BNFL’s fleet of radioactive material carriers are carrying out an investigation at Barrow Docks to determine how sensitive documents relating to one of the ships in their care were found blowing around the dockside yesterday. Agents James Fisher & Sons of Barrow have refused to comment any further on the matter.
The documents had been ditched on the quayside by the Pacific Swan prior to leaving the dock on 1st June for her voyage to France to collect 144 canisters of vitrified High Level Waste (HLW) for onward shipment to Japan. Due to leave Cherbourg on 4th June, the trans-world HLW shipment is likely to attract international hostility at a time of raised terrorist activity. The Pacific Swan, oldest ship of the fleet, is owned by Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited (PNTL), a BNFL subsidiary company.
Amongst the scattered papers salvaged from the quay by local pressure group CORE was a highly detailed list of the Pacific Swan’s crew. The list included name, date and place of birth, rank, and nature and number of identity document of each crew member from the captain down.. Also found were current weather forecasts for the ship’s voyage from Barrow to France, and Admiralty chart updates covering UK and French waters as well as those around the Panama Canal.
Reporting the incident on its front page today, the Barrow Evening Mail newspaper points to PNTL’s past claims that crew lists have always been kept confidential and that the relase of such information posed a security risk. Evening Mail reporters who visited the docks later in the day found more papers of a less sensitive nature.