Minute Of Silence Honours Wharfie

Maritime workers at every major port in Australia observed a minute’s silence yesterday to commemorate the tragic death of Newcastle wharfie Greg Fitzgibbon.

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Mr Fitzgibbon, 56, a Newcastle stevedore, was working on board the Chinese-registered bulk carrier Weaver Arrow on September 23 when a 20-tonne pallet of aluminium ingots unexpectedly shifted and crushed him.

A funeral for the Adamstown father of two was held yesterday at St Columba’s Catholic Church at Adamstown, while a minute’s silence was observed at wharves and docks nationwide at noon.

Maritime Union of Australia  national secretary Paddy Crumlin attended yesterday’s funeral on behalf of the union.

Union assistant national secretary Warren Smith said the union was angry the industry’s major employers were resisting implementation of a National Stevedoring Code of Practice.

‘‘There have been too many deaths on the Australian waterfront in recent times,’’ he said.

 ‘‘It’s time employers stopped undermining safety and looked after workers as much as they look after the bottom line.’’

Mr Fitzgibbon was born and raised in Carrington and worked on or around ships for most of his life. 

Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators are compiling a draft investigation report into the incident.