Oasis of the Seas accident 1
Oasis of the Seas accident 2
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
SEVERAL employees were injured at the Grand Bahama shipyard when a crane collapsed on one of the world’s largest cruise ships around noon yesterday.
The Tribune understands that eight persons were taken to hospital. Five were injured, and three were brought in as “non-fatal drowning” patients. All are believed to be foreign workers. Work was being carried out on the Oasis of the Seas - the second largest cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International - which was docked for repair work. The ship could be seen listing on its port side, however, the exact damage to the ship and the dock was not known up to press time.
However, one shipyard worker who filmed a cell phone video of the incident speculated that there was major damage at the facility.
“Big accident in the shipyard, working on the Oasis, ship collapse, dock collapse, crane collapse. . .I was right there on the dock, just miss it by the grace of God,” the worker said in the video, which was circulated on social media yesterday. “Big accident, big accident. Something the shipyard will never survive from this one. Dock two is gone, dock two is finished. All the cranes collapsed. Big, big, big disaster. Big, big, big disaster. Disaster, disaster, disaster. I’ve never seen anything like this in my lifetime.”
The ship has a passenger capacity of about 6,000, and crew of over 2,000. The Tribune understands that some crew members were on board while work was being done.
Three ambulances responded and took the injured to hospital. There were no Bahamians among the injured at the shipyard, which has a large foreign workforce.
Supt Walter Henderson reported that none of the injuries is life-threatening and investigations are continuing into the accident.
No one at the shipyard could be reached for comment up to press time.
Royal Caribbean is said to be assessing the vessel’s damage.
“We are aware of damage to the dock structure and to construction cranes,” Melissa Charbonneau, Royal Caribbean’s director of corporate reputation, emailed in a statement to the Orlando Sentinel. “We are assessing damage to the ship.”
Family and relatives of the workers rushed to the shipyard after learning news of the accident.
Security personnel were posted at the entrance, which was also blocked by a sanitation truck to prevent access to the facility.
After the incident occurred, many of the taxi-cab drivers stationed at the taxi depot/stand at the shipyard were told to leave the area.
Cab driver Dwight Williams said that they heard a loud sound shortly after noon that frightened them.
“It was a real loud outburst like something break off a tractor; it was really loud and all of us get up the same time to see what was happening, and the front part of the ship started to go down shortly after,” he said.
Mr Williams said that it happened so quickly and suddenly.
Cab driver Craig Gray was also at the shipyard waiting for a fare when the accident happened. He said that he usually takes crew members from the shipyard to the beach or Port Lucaya.
“All we heard was a loud boom,” he recalled. “And at first I thought it was where they normally dynamite down at the shipyard; I thought it was dynamite but when we looked around we saw the big ship leaning.
“I didn’t know if anyone got hurt, but the guy in charge of security came and he told us to move our taxis - that was approximately 12.15pm,” Mr Gray said.
He said that two ambulances, police cars, and a fire truck arrived shortly thereafter.
As news of the incident spread, a number of persons gathered at the entrance. Marcel Wilson said he came immediately because he has brothers who work at the shipyard.
“When I heard the news I became concerned because I have two brothers that work here. We got in contact with one of them but we could not get in contact with the other one so we came down here to find out if everything was okay,” he said.
Mr Wilson said he later learned that his brother was okay.
“We had contact with the other brother and he was saying they had a tragedy and they do not know the extent of what happened yet, but that he was okay. When I did not hear from him initially, I came out of concern for my brother. Fortunately, he is okay,” Mr Wilson said.
Cooley, a taxi driver who has frequent customers at the shipyard, said it was a scary ordeal because people could have lost their lives.
“I am not worried about the jobs so much. The thing is that a lot of lives could have got lost today, so getting a job is really the last thing on my mind. A lot of the guys on the ship are like friends, not just a job. It is a sad day and I hope and pray that everyone is okay,” she said.
Grand Bahama Shipyard has an excellent safety record.