Safety audit underway after freak accident in port

Internal investigation launched
Leandrea Louw
Walvis Bay • [email protected]

A full internal investigation has been launched by Erongo Marine Enterprises (EME) after a freak accident that claimed the life of a dock worker on board the MFV Desert Ruby in the Port of Walvis Bay.

A 41-year-old man died when a metal pallet fell on top of him last Friday while he and his colleagues were busy loading boxes of fish on a freezer vessel.

The deceased Gideon Kakololo Katanga, was an employee of Walvis Bay Stevedoring.

Dr Martha Uumati, the managing director of Erongo Marine Enterprises said that the investigation involving its entire management, the vessel captain and crew as well as all safety officers on board the vessel owned by the fishing company, is ongoing.

“It was a dark day for Erongo Marine Enterprises knowing that a breadwinner went to work, never to return home to his family. Although EME and none of our crew members were involved in the discharging operation, the accident still happened on our vessel,” Uumati stated.

According to Uumati EME has also engaged Walvis Bay Stevedoring, the external service provider, and a joint, comprehensive safety audit is underway to determine the cause of the accident and to ensure that all safety controls are enhanced to avoid a similar incident in the future.

“The health and safety of all our employees, as well as that of all our external stakeholders working on EME vessels, is of the highest priority. For this reason, we have specific safety protocols for all operations on our vessels, including the discharging of cargo, which is regarded as a high-risk exercise. It involves suspended loads to which no person should be in close proximity. There are safety measures in place for a reason and these must be followed at all times,” said Uumati.

EME also condemned what it termed unprofessional and insensitive circulation of photos and videos related to the incident posted on social media.
“It is totally unacceptable and insensitive towards the deceased’s loved ones. The responsible person has been traced and will be dealt with in line with internal disciplinary policies. We will institute the relevant legal actions,” said Uumati.

Rumours along with deplorable pictures were widely shared on social media after the accident.

Along with the gruesome pictures, a message also surfaced stating (sic) “incident of yesterday at Erongo Marine Namport Walvisbay, people quarantened for 2 yrs in boat because they refuse for vaccination. company being run by Swapo cadre”.

Erongo 24/7 however established that the allegations contained in the message are not true.