Friday, November 16, 2018

Tragic Death on Container Ship Brings Lashing of Boxes Back in Focus

Filipino Sailor Struck and Killed in Dublin Port
Shipping News Feature
IRELAND – WORLDWIDE – The subject of lashing containers on box carrying vessels when they are in port is one which has been a bone of contention with unions for some time and now the tragic death this week of a Filipino sailor whilst in dock in Dublin has renewed the argument. Dennis Gomez Regana died after a container struck him at Southbank Quay on Wednesday 14 November, when he was doing lashing work while container lifting operations were underway. He was on board the MV Francop, which is registered under a known flag of convenience.

The incident has caused the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) to offer their deepest condolences to the man’s family and pointed out their previous argument that work of this nature should only be carried out by stevedores and dockers. ITF maritime coordinator Jacqueline Smith said:

"Our thoughts go out to the family, friends and fellow crew members of Dennis Gomez Regana. But let's be clear, he never should have been put in this dangerous position.

"When a ship gets to port the seafarers on board have done their work, they should be maintaining their ship and resting. The very last thing they should be doing is the difficult and dangerous work of lashing and securing containers. The work should be left to dockers who have the training and experience to do it more safely.”

The ITF in particular has been vociferous on this subject for some time and has conducted a campaign, ‘Reclaiming Lashing’ in a bid to ensure it stays in the minds-eye of the shipping profession. ITF dockers section representative Peter Lahay observed:

"The ITF and ETF are clear that it is better for dockers and seafarers if this work is done by dock workers. Lashing is dockers work, full stop.

“We must put an end to unscrupulous ship owners and port operators putting pressure on seafarers to do lashing and securing. I hope they take notice of this tragedy today and change their ways, if they don't then more seafarers will be seriously hurt or killed. We look forward to reading the report and recommendations of the Irish authorities."