Authorities failed to address safety concerns before deadly crane accident, says Port Worker’s Union

Following the death of two port workers last night (April 7), the Maldives Ports Workers Union (MPWU) has said that staff had repeatedly complained that the boat and the crane involved were unsafe.

Port workers, including the winch men, had reportedly complained that the boat concerned was not safe and that the rollers (a part of the crane) had not been serviced.

Mohamed Nashid, 32, from Kudafary in Noonu atoll and Ibrahim Shareef, 36, from Malé were both killed when the crane’s wire snapped while loading a container onto the boat. The crane’s operator, Imran, fainted on seeing the incident and suffered minor injuries as a result.

Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) has said that all safety requirements had been met, and that the port adhered to international safety standards.

Head of the MPWU Ibrahim Khaleel has said, however, that “employees are in a state of fear.”

“MPL has failed to address any complaints, and furthermore blacklists any employees who complain claiming they are against the government and the management.”

“We have not yet been able to identify who should bear responsibility for the accident,” stated Khaleel, adding that the Transport Ministry must bear some responsibility as it has to do routine inspections on the vessels.

CEO of MPL Mahdi Imad said at a press conference today that all port staff are insured and trained under ILO’s port training. The ships and cranes are checked once a year, he noted, and when the containers were being unloaded all safety requirements were met.

Tragic accident

The ship, named the Morning Viship, had been travelling from Cochin, India, where it had reportedly been shored and renovated.

According to Khaleel, the container fell while a crane was loading it ontothe boat. Reports stated that a piece of the crane’s equipment cracked, causing a flying piece of metal to strike the two MPL staff below, one on the head and the other on his back.

Mohamed Nashid, father of two, was killed instantly from the impact, suffering massive head injuries. Meanwhile, Ibrahim Shareef – a father of three – died while being treated at IGMH for severe skull and back injuries.

The crane operator Imran, fainted upon seeing the accident, with authorities struggling to remove him from the controls as he remained unconscious for an hour after the incident. He suffered minor injuries, and was taken to the ADK hospital for treatment.

Additionally, MPL Cargo Department General Manager Mohamed Hashim contended that such accidents were rare at the Malé business port with just four in MPL’s history. Safety classes and training were conducted regularly for MPL staff, he added.

While Imad and Hashim insisted that safety measures were up to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards, newspaper Haveeru has reported an unnamed MPL staff as claiming that mandatory safety officers were not present last night when the incident occurred.

“Safety officers came to the scene of the incident after more than 30 minutes. And ILO standards state that everyone at the scene must be given counselling after such a serious incident. But nothing like that has been done either,” the anonymous employee was quoted as saying.

The MPWU also contended in a press release today that none of the previous incidents were adequately investigated and that no corrective measures were taken. The union called on authorities for full investigation and to provide compensation to victim’s families.

Hashim said the transport authority and the marine police have launched an investigation, and that MPL operations are suspended until tomorrow while Police have cordon off the business port compound for their investigation.

In an appeal to the public, the Police have appealed to people not to share the victims’ dead bodies on social media. “Such acts deepen the pain of the victim’s families and friends,” the police stated.

MPL’s Imad said that work had been suspended today for an investigation, and will restart at 7:30am tomorrow morning. He confirmed that the MPL will bear all the costs for the two men’s children until they are 18.


19 thoughts on “Authorities failed to address safety concerns before deadly crane accident, says Port Worker’s Union”

  1. Maldives government is chronically deficient in standards and enforcement.

    When taxis smell, when there are no health labels, when construction is done anyway people like, when business regulation is only about nice name boards, when medicine being sold are fake, government officials will still defend themselves by say Maldives is STILL better than South Asia . It will be a matter of time when buildings in male collapse too. But building regulators are still not doing inspections

    Port accident is a symptom of poor standards by the regular. He should be responsible and should resign. But did health minister resign over HIV blood case? No

  2. This accident happened because of the negligence of the fisheries minister. How can he allow this vessel on Maldivian waters where our fish live.

    Fisheries minister should be executed by lethal injection, because of this.

  3. MPL should be ashamed of this incident. Because if the port was maintaining operations as per international safety standards, this could have never happened!
    Could the port prove that there is a safety monitoring unit or system and if it is functional?
    MPL being the highly politicised company it is hard to tell if the requests of the ports workers fell on deaf ears!
    The story is yet to be heard!

  4. Unless regulators regulate the regulated, accidents are inevitable

    If it's a developed country, it would be the Transport Minister who would be grilled in parliament

    When you read what @Andreas Andres wrote above, you know Maldivians do not grasp the concept of regulation

    It's not companies or public enterprises but rather the responsibility of the relevant Ministers to ensure appropriate standards are in place for his sector. Expecting ports authority to self regulate is not how it works in any sector. It's like expecting Villa to regulate tourism

  5. .. Even with the introduction of democracy and separation of powers, the Maldives regulatory authorities are behaving with impunity in all sectors. The enormous responsibility of sector regulations have not been taken seriously by ministers. How many ministries do a compliance audit of their sectors?

  6. Corruption, laziness, incompetence, arrogance, greed and a complete lack of respect for human life are just a few things standing in the way of creating a safe work environment for people here in paradise.

  7. This crane was installed in the ship that had berthed at MPL harbor. The vessel belong to India .

    Indian authorities also have a responsibility to ensure that seagoing vessels meet the international standard .
    As per the documents given to Maldives authority, the vessels and it equipments are in good condition . Since this was issued by so called high profile democratic country , backward Maldives should not even bother to challenge the Indian authorities.

  8. its just an accident. to be safe at the work area such like this, you don't want to stand below where the things can fall on you. you can't blame officer working in the desk or the politician or fruit vendor or the guy commenting here it's just the two victim because they stand at the wrong area.

  9. You know you can't trust anything that comes from India! Look at them. Do they have even once single good road on that country? No. It's all poorly made, not maintained just potholes everywhere and most cases not unevenly laid. It goes for the rest of other stuff they make. The Maldivian society relies so much on others that they mostly forget what they should be actually looking for!

  10. @Mr. Hero,

    For Indiann standards (including ship standards) to be acceptable in Maldives, there has to be an international agreement.

    Is there an agreement?
    If there is no agreement, why did Maldives aurthorities accept any piece of paper by Indian authorities.

    Except for banning 3 wheelers to roam on the roads of Male, Maldives authorities are blindly following Bureau of Indian Standards - wich has no verification or accreditation - on a path to hell.

    Hope this case is investigated well. Not just for PR.

  11. Imagine if GMR was given the opportunity to do the airport to the famous Indian Standard!

    Think about it.

  12. hero get your facts right cranes are not installed on ship,they are present at the port, only maldivian cranes caused the accident rusted sub standard unserviced cranes purchased by maldives are at fault here.Regarding the technical expertise of the crane operator,his fainting at occurrence of incidence speak about his expertise

  13. I wonder why this government has appointed Mahdi AGAIN as the CEO. He is a failure. A PROVEN FAILURE BIG TIME. He thinks staff as dogs.He raised his salary to a wopping 100,000 rufiyaa last time he was here as CEO, asa result Dr.Waheed dismissed him.

  14. @cabs. Check your own facts . There was a crane installed in this ship .

    Ship is still there . Stop trying to pass the blame to Government.

    Most of the comments made here had tried to politicize the situation .

    What ever said and done, who country was put in crisis by Nasheed and 3 years of regime had ruin this country and had taken 50 years backward.

    Health sectors was ruined, education system was made into a soup , public infrastructures was in a disaster, no preventive maintenance was done at all in the last 5 years.

  15. Hey you dumb morons, you should not build your infrastructure to ISO standards but to Pakistani Standards.....after all you have so much in common, not just your intolerant and hate filled religion but also your drug addictions.
    The arrogance of you backward and bankrupt islanders is quite staggering. You cannot build anything to BS or DIN standards either attention now.....YOU CANNOT AFFORD IT POPPETS.
    As for your health and education sectors being ruined.....never knew you had a health and education sector in the first place......why else would you lay siege to our embassy in Male for medical and education visas?
    Do us cow worshippers a favour and keep out of our country.....we don't need you or your worthless currency.

  16. Lest you dimwits forget, the best hospital in Maldives is IGMH, A gift from India and paid for from the taxes of kuffars like me.
    Show some gratitude to your benefactors.
    The visa section of our embassy is closed indefinitely.....go someplace else.

  17. hero your facts are wrong this is no indian ship belongs to vietnam

  18. It's very difficult to assess cause when the only evidence presented comes in the form of media accounts. Consequently, I won't be foolish enough to make that attempt.

    What I can say, is that the condition of vessel's cargo gear has been brought under great focus over the last several years. This is so, owing largely to the numbers and types of failures that have occurred during use.

    Indeed, the United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO) has lately formed study groups to go deep into the issue of such gears' safety. The expectation, is that IMO will tighten up on what outwardly appears to be the cause of seemingly unforgivable losses such as the deaths of the two young dockworkers there at Male'. Assuredly, there have been others.

    My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to their families and friends.


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