Near Miss on Ship Berthed in Fremantle

Dozens of wharf workers are today counting their lucky stars that everyone came away mostly unscathed after a crane was dropped in a loading accident at the port of Fremantle on Tuesday.

Aboard the Stevns Trader, docked at the Number 11 berth, a crane weighing approximately 100 tonnes and worth more than $3million dollars was dropped into the hold by two seafarers operating the ship’s cranes.

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Only one seafarer reported minor injuries but the accident could have been prevented had properly trained stevedores been operating the cranes, according to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

ITF Inspector Keith McCorriston said seafarers were not qualified to operate such a technical lift and the vessel’s operator was breaching the safety laws under the Navigation Act by allowing the seafarers to operate the cranes.

“This whole incident could have been avoided if the wharf work had been left to the wharfies,” Mr McCorriston said.

“In fact, everyone was very lucky the crane was dropped where it was, because had it have fallen onto the wharf and not into the hold we would be counting a dozen fatalities.

“This is another case of a shipping company cutting corners, squeezing every penny and risking the lives of their already low-­‐paid workers and the Australian wharfies at the same time.”

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is investigating the incident.