FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA – Chaos erupted at the Grand Bahama shipyard on Monday after a crane collapsed at the shipyard’s dry dock.
According to Grand Bahama police, eight employees were injured but none of the injuries were life threatening.
At the time of the collapse, repairs were reportedly being carried out on the Oasis of the Seas, one of the largest cruise ships in the world. To ensure safety, droves of workers were bussed out of the compound following the incident, but Eyewitness News understands that the scene became chaotic as some employees raced to safety and attempts were made to right side the ship that reportedly began to tilt as the dock folded on its side.
Pictures and videos of the incident made the rounds on social media yesterday with some fearing that persons had been killed.
Workers expressed in videos that it was a blessing that employees were on their lunch break when the ordeal unfolded, as the outcome could have been tragic.
“I was on the dock working and just missed it by the grace of God,” one employee could be heard saying in a video. “The shipyard will never survive from this one. The dock too is finished and the crane collapsed. It is a big disaster. I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime.”
In a statement released by Royal Caribbean International yesterday evening, the company also confirmed that eight people were injured and none of the injuries were life threatening.
“As always, the safety and security of our people remain our top priority at Royal Caribbean, and we are actively monitoring the situation,” the RCI statement read.
“We are aware of damage to the dock structure and to construction cranes. We are assessing damage to the ship. Drydock is a maintenance procedure and there are no guests aboard the ship,” the statement concluded.
The Grand Bahama shipyard has been the scene of a number of tragic events over the years.
Back in November, 2014 the late Dr. Myles Munroe and eight passengers on a charter flight crashed into a crane at the Grand Bahama shipyard.
In 2004, another employee died as a result of an explosion at the shipyard.
Following this incident, the international labour organization (ILO) conducted a probe of the safety and health standards at the shipyard. This report was reportedly given to the government of the day but was not made public.
Last February, the ILO met with industry stakeholders that Eyewitness News understands, would have included the Grand Bahama shipyard, to adopt a new code of practice to improve safety and health in shipbuilding and ship repair. A portion that new code reportedly focused on the rights of workers and being aware of the risks they face on the job, the right to participate fully in addressing those risks, and the right to remove themselves from hazardous work situations.
Meanwhile police in Grand Bahama said investigations into this incident will continue.