Three dockworkers died on Saturday in Antwerp, Belgium, after entering a ship’s hold to unload coal where they are believed to have suffocated from toxic gases.
The ship, identified by the local media as Norwegian bulk carrier Saga Frontier was anchored at a Euroports quay in Antwerp for unloading when the incident occurred.
The three workers were almost done with the unloading of cargo and had descended through a manhole into a smaller room next to the open cargo area, which, according to a labour prosecutor, was poorly ventilated.
According to the most recent Marine Traffic vessel tracking data, the Hong Kong-flagged ship, built in 2007, is still moored in Antwerp area.
Investigation into the cause of deaths of the three workers is underway.
“We can never relax on port safety and accident prevention. Antwerp is a port where health and safety is taken very seriously, and, like the three men’s trade unions, we are confident that a full investigation will take place into what happened and how any resulting lessons can be implemented,” says President and Chair of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) dockers’ section, Paddy Crumlin.
“Dock work is dangerous work and everyone involved must always do everything possible to minimise the risks,” he added.
World Maritime News Staff; Image: Port of Antwerp