Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, January 24, 2009

SBMA on latest accident: ‘Heads will roll’

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines – The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said on Friday it would pursue the prosecution of all parties found liable in the death of another worker at the Hanjin shipyard here on Friday.

It has suspended a subcontractor whose operations led to the fatal accident.

Early Friday, a 19-year-old worker was killed while another was wounded after a metal base of a newly installed manual canvass door at one of the assembly facilities of the South Korean shipbuilding company fell on them.

SBMA identified the fatality as Raldon del Rosario, 19-year-old resident of Kalinga province, who suffered "massive head injury" as a result of the accident.

Another worker, identified as Camalao Bochei, 24, also from Kalinga, suffered leg injuries and was brought to the St. Jude Hospital in Olongapo City for treatment.

“We’re definitely taking action on this, and heads will roll," SBMA administrator Armand Arreza said, adding that SBMA will be "firm but fair."

Arreza ordered the suspension of Great Steel after an 11-by-5-meter curtain door that the firm was installing in one assembly shop fell on the two shipyard workers.

SBMA investigators said the two victims were just passing by the assembly shop where Great Steel workers were installing a rain curtain when the accident happened at about 8:30 a.m.

At that time, Great Steel workers were reportedly testing the rain curtain – a huge manual canvass door with a metal base - by pulling the canvass up and down with a rigged chain and pulley.

The chain holding the door broke, causing the door’s metal base support to be detached.

Del Rosario was the 18th fatality at the Hanjin shipyard since it began operations in 2006. Most of the fatal accidents, a total of 15, occurred at construction sites worked at by various subcontractors.

But while emphasizing that the recent death "had nothing to do with shipbuilding activity." Arreza added that this did not necessarily clear Hanjin Heavy Industries Co. Philippines (HHIC-Phil), which operates the $1.7-billion shipyard here.

“The SBMA is also looking into the contingent liability of Hanjin, because it is the general contractor of the shipyard," he said.

Arreza said he had also instructed the SBMA legal department to assist the families of the victims, while agency started investigating the incident.

"We will push through with prosecuting all those who will be found liable," Arreza said.

He also said that the SBMA had recently issued two notices of violation to Hanjin after the SBMA noted in a safety inspection on Jan. 6 that some workers in the shipyard did not have personal protective equipment, and that some work areas were dimly-lit and not well-ventilated.

None of the Hanjin South Korean officials could be reached for comment. - GMANews.TV

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