Search for worker ongoing after shore crane topples at Keppel shipyard in Tuas, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Search for worker ongoing after shore crane topples at Keppel shipyard in Tuas

This article is more than 12 months old

A search operation is ongoing to locate a worker who fell into the sea on Monday (Aug 22) morning, after a shore crane collapsed at a shipyard in Tuas and injured four other workers.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said a 38-year-old Bangladeshi worker was on the pier at Keppel Shipyard where the crane had toppled.

The accident happened at about 10.40am on Monday.

As at 3.15pm on Tuesday, the worker employed by Kumarann Marine is still missing.

Four other workers - two Bangladeshis, a Chinese national and a local - sustained minor injuries as a result of the accident at 51 Pioneer Sector 1. They are all in stable condition, the ministry added.

In a statement to ST, Keppel Shipyard said a section of the quayside had given way, causing two workers to fall into the sea and a crane to tilt to the side.

"We have rescued one of the workers who is in stable condition, while the other worker is currently missing. We are working with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Police Coast Guard on the search operations," said a spokesman.

MOM said part of the concrete pier on which the crane was standing on had collapsed, causing the crane to topple and become partially submerged under water.

Photos of the incident circulating on social media showed that the crane was being used next to a large vessel that was berthed at the shipyard.

In the photos, the crane's base appeared to have buckled, causing the rest of the crane to fall towards the berthed ship.

The boom of the crane, which is the long fixed arm used to move objects, can be seen twisted and strewn atop the ship.

SCDF said it was alerted to the accident at noon. Two people were taken to National University Hospital, but SCDF did not specify who they were.

MOM said it is investigating the cause of the accident, and has stopped all works at the pier. Keppel Shipyard said it is working closely with the authorities to conduct thorough investigations.

"Keppel Shipyard values the life and safety of every worker. As investigations are ongoing, we are unable to provide further details at this juncture," it added.

This is at least the second workplace accident to have taken place at Keppel's shipyard in Tuas this year, and the second to involve the collapse of a large structure.

On March 28, two Bangladeshi workers, aged 30 and 42, died after they were thrown off a vessel that was docked at the shipyard after a structure atop the vessel collapsed.

They were among three workers who were at work on a scaffold that was built around the structure.

The third worker, also a Bangladeshi, managed to cling onto the structure after it had collapsed.

The 25-year-old was later rescued by the shipyard's emergency response team, and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Alarm bells have gone off over slipping workplace safety and health standards here, after a rise in work-related deaths and major injuries in recent months.

As at Aug 3, 32 workers have died so far this year - more than the 30 work-related deaths recorded in the whole of 2020, and close to the 37 deaths recorded last year.