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Bluff waterfront workers narrow escape collapse

Bluff waterfront workers narrow escape in crane collapse incident

The Maritime Union of New Zealand says several waterfront workers were lucky to escape when several tonnes of collapsing equipment from a ships crane crashed onto the wharf at Southport in Bluff today.

At around 1.30pm this afternoon, a gantry crane on board the Marshall Island-flagged ŒTasman Independence¹ had a large turntable crash onto the wharf with cargo after metal ropes snapped.

Three waterfront workers and a forklift driver were Œa couple of metres away¹ from where the wreckage fell, says eyewitness and Maritime Union member Harry Holland.

Crane driver and Maritime Union member Keith Tangney says the whole incident happened quickly, leaving him shocked and scared.

Workers have stopped work on the ship while it is inspected.

The Maritime Union says it is investigating reports that one of the shipboard cranes had not been working in Wellington during a recent visit by the ship.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says crane incidents on board Flag of Convenience ships in New Zealand ports are becoming a regular event.

He says the incident comes hot on the heels of a crane collapse aboard the log ship Maritime Friendship in Port Chalmers in November last year.

"Unless safety is tightened up on these flag of convenience vessels, it is a matter of when ­ not if ­ workers are seriously injured or killed on the job."

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