The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has expressed its condolences following the death of an MUA member who was fatally injured on board a Chinese-registered bulk carrier at Carrington in the Newcastle area overnight.
Greg Fitzgibbon, a 56-year-old wharfie with Newcastle Stevedores, was killed while working on board the Weaver Arrow, which was docked at the Eastern Basin Distribution Centre.
NSW Police said that as the ship was being loaded with a cargo of aluminium ingots by crane, a 20 tonne pallet unexpectedly shifted and crushed the man. Ambulance Paramedics attended the scene but could not revive Mr Fitzgibbon.
MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said Mr Fitzgibbon wassurvived by his wife and two daughters.
“The MUA expresses condolences and sympathy to Mr Fitzgibbon’s family – any workplace death is one too many,” Mr Smith said.
“The MUA will continue to work to ensure Mr Fitzgibbon’s family is looked after and that counselors are provided to the workforce.
“The Newcastle Branch and National Office of the MUA are in contact with the workforce and the company to work through any issues.
NSW Police, the ATSB and WorkCover are investigating the incident and the MUA is cooperating with these bodies.
“We await the outcome of the current investigations but as soon as it is completed, we’ll be seeking urgent meetings with Newcastle Stevedores to work through processes of better safety in the workplace to ensure nothing like this ever happens again,” Mr Smith said.
The MUA has been trying for some time to get industry to engage in developing a National Stevedoring Code Of Practice (NSCOP).
“The MUA will not rest until better safety is delivered on the waterfront,” Mr Smith said.
MUA Newcastle Branch Secretary Glen Williams said Mr Fitzgibbon had been a member of the MUA since 1986.
“It is with great sadness that I have informed MUA members of another death of one of own,” Mr Williams said.
“We have lost another member to a workplace accident that could and should have been avoided.”