Seafarer Exposure to Gas from Fawley Refinery

Our ref: HSR/1/3

Head Office Circular: NP/42/23

3rd March 2023

To: the Secretary





Dear Colleague,




I received a report from the National Secretary who has been contacted by members employed by Solent Towage/ Edda crewing and provided with details of concerns raised in relation to unannounced and unrecorded gas venting within the Fawley refinery, in close proximity to the berths in which the vessels in which they are employed to work are moored.


This situation has been ongoing for some time and has seen members raise this with local management through grievances and with representatives of the parent company based in Norway with no resolution and little dialogue.


Members have reported in some cases being overcome with electrical burning-type smells and in other cases no smells, but being impacted by continual migraine and hangover-type symptoms which has even resulted in the hospitalisation of crew.


The affected members also believe that there have been actions by various levels of management to silence those who have raised these concerns.


It is possible that Solent Towage may lose the contract and be taken over by another company as the re-tendering process is due to commence this year.  This is important because our members want to ensure that we have some form of dialogue with this employer if it is determined that at some point in the future the exposure to these gases was detrimental to their health.


At its meeting on 2nd March 2023, your National Executive Committee noted and adopted the following report from its Health and Safety sub-committee:


We note the report on file from the National Secretary. 


The General Secretary is instructed to write to the HSE, MCA and the company noting our concerns as highlighted in the report, seeking copies of any Risk Assessments, correspondence and recordings of gas ventilation, and also any correspondence from the company to the refinery.


The General Secretary is further instructed to seek a meeting with the HSE, MCA and the company and to undertake further research around this matter including seeking an understanding from Thompsons on this particular type of situation.


Finally, the General Secretary is instructed to direct the individual members in question to seek advice from Thompsons in this matter.


I am acting in line with these instructions.


Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members. 


Yours sincerely



Michael Lynch

General Secretary