Inspections Caribbean Netherlands: diverse and intensive
Hazardous Substances Inspectors of the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) fly to the Caribbean Netherlands on a regular basis. They visit ports, airports, logistics companies, training institutes, hospitals and laboratories to provide information, conduct inspections and issue permits. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the BES islands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius, Saba), Aruba and Curaçao were visited for the last time in 2019. The inspectors especially observe an increasing professionalism in the transport and loading / unloading of hazardous substances. Senior inspector Peter Koetsier and team leader Willem Hoogerhout speak about their work at these sunny and special workplaces.
©ILTWillem Hoogerhout and Peter Koetsier
Very diverse in a short time
Peter: “Inspections on the BES islands are intensive and fun. In a short time, we conduct many different types of inspections. We visit the hospitals and laboratories on the islands. Here we check how (coronavirus) waste is handled and we extend the permit for the transport of blood samples to the various laboratories in the Caribbean Netherlands. At the ports, we check the inspections of tank containers arriving with gas and oil. We also visit the waste incineration plant on Bonaire where hospital waste is burned. The islands are like the Netherlands in miniature, which makes our inspection work there so diverse and interesting.”
Visits needed to safeguard professionalism
Willem Hoogerhout has been visiting the islands since 2009. He previously also assisted in training professionals and local supervisors. "The ILT is the authority on the BES islands. We have a good working relationship with the authorities of the other autonomous countries within the Kingdom, in the Caribbean. We work closely together and ensure maximum uniformity in our actions. We also contribute to the certification of the companies on Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. This is important for compliance in the region and throughout the transport chain. In recent years, I have seen an increase in compliance. I also notice that the presence of our inspectors contributes to maintaining the required safety level. That is why we always provide information during our company visits. This time, there was also a two-day seminar on Dangerous Goods. Over 30 people from the business community and 20 local supervisors attended.”
Swimwear in suitcase
“This time, my suitcase is full of self-tests and coronavirus measures", says Peter. "Almost every day I have to do a PCR test, because I am visiting different islands. My swimwear is in the suitcase too. Early in the morning I often find some time to swim laps. The days are long and it gets dark around 19:00 o'clock. Sometimes people think that I am lying on the beach. If only it was true, the evenings are spent with administration and providing information or consultation with colleagues from Port State Control who work overseas for the ILT.”
Role of inspection
The ILT is the supervisory body in the Caribbean Netherlands (BES islands) for the transport of hazardous substances by sea and air. ILT inspectors visit the islands at least once a year. The legislation covers the transport and transhipment of hazardous substances, including explosive substances (fireworks), gases (LPG and industrial gases) flammable (liquid) substances (gasoline / airplane fuel), toxic substances (pesticides), infectious substances (blood samples / hospital waste), radioactive substances (radionuclides for medical use), asbestos, and lithium batteries.