Supervisor jailed, firm fined over incident that led to death of diver

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The assistant diving supervisor of a ship repair company was jailed for 12 weeks yesterday over an underwater incident in 2014 that led to a diver's death.

The company, Underwater Contractors, was fined $300,000 over the incident, during which diver Kwok Khee Khoon was killed after he was sucked into a ship's pipe opening.

The company and its supervisor, David Ng Wei Li, 37, were each found guilty of an offence under the Workplace Safety and Health Act in February this year following a trial.

The incident occurred at the Eastern Working Anchorage, near Marina South Pier, on June 4, 2014.

Mr Kwok was one of six divers working at the ship's bow thrusters when he was sucked into a pipe opening in the vessel.

He was later found to have died of traumatic asphyxia.

Ministry of Manpower prosecutors Delvinder Singh and Shanty Priya had argued that the safest way to perform the diving works would have been to shut down the pumps in the sea chest the divers were to work in.

But the pumps were kept operating at "reduced flow" instead.

They had also said Ng had instructed the divers to perform the works, despite knowing there was a risk of them being sucked into the sea chest.

Mr Alfred Lim and Ms Jaime Lye, lawyers for the company and Ng, said their clients intend to appeal against their conviction and sentence.

For their respective offences, the company could have been fined up to $500,000, while Ng could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $30,000. - THE STRAITS TIMES