By Nation Reporter
ZAMBIAN Breweries yesterday threatened to shut down its factory complex in Lusaka and evacuate its premises as 200 tankers laden with fuel lined the roads surrounding its Mungwi Road production facility.
Managing director Annabelle Degroot called on the relevant authorities to urgently intervene in the matter to stop the tankers carrying petrol and diesel from parking on the roads surrounding the factory in Lusaka’s main industrial area.
“It is very dangerous. The worst is that we have a major fire risk, hence putting the lives of our staff in danger as well as posing an enormous threat to our property and equipment,” he said.
Ms Degroot said emergency evacuation procedures have been put in place and Zambian Breweries staff have been deployed to extinguish cooking fires being lit by some tanker drivers near their vehicles as they wait to offload and load petrol at the nearby TAZAMA fuel distribution centre.
“The danger of fuel tankers parked on the road side was highlighted last year when a truck laden with petrol caught fire.
‘‘Only quick action by a combined team of Zambian Breweries safety personnel and the Lusaka Fire Brigade averted what could have been a national catastrophe and a high-profile accident that would have tarnished Zambia’s reputation on industrial safety standards,” she said.
Ms Degroot said for the last few years Zambian Breweries management along with other businesses had been engaging the ministries of Transport and Communication, Works and Supply and Energy and Water Development, the police and the local authority to highlight the danger of the tankers most of which were foreign-owned.
She said there was an urgent need to relocate fuel depots away from high-density industrial areas and ensure strict enforcement of the existing regulations governing the bulk storage and transportation of fuel.
According to Daily Nation findings, sometimes up to 100 fully loaded fuel tankers from Dar-es-Salaam can be found parked outside the Zambian Breweries factory and all along the roads in the vicinity queuing to decant their cargo into the TAZAMA fuel depot.