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Shipping company fined over the death of seaman

PUBLISHED: 15:25 06 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:54 06 March 2020

Mr Ismaili at home in Albania with his three children. Picture courtesy of the Ismaili family.

Mr Ismaili at home in Albania with his three children. Picture courtesy of the Ismaili family.

Archant

A Greek ship management company has been prosecuted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency over the death of one of its crew members at a Norfolk port.

The SMN Explorer cargo ship at the Alexandra Dock in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtThe SMN Explorer cargo ship at the Alexandra Dock in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Sky Mare Navigation Company was today fined more than £100,000 after a court heard how ship's cook Alfred Ismaili was crushed to death by a falling hatch cover during a lifting operation onboard the SMN Explorer on February 1, 2018 in Alexandra Dock, King's Lynn.

Mr Ismaili, 36, left a wife and three young children at his home in Durres, Albania.

The company pleaded guilty to charges of failing to comply with the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment) Regulations 2006.

Chelmsford Magistrates Court heard how Mr Ismaili died after he was crushed by a hatch cover that he was attempting to close.

A police forensic van arrives at Lynn docks. Picture: Chris BishopA police forensic van arrives at Lynn docks. Picture: Chris Bishop

In the absence of an operating procedure for opening and closing the heavy hatch cover, Mr Ismaili had attempted to climb up the inside of the cover to try and access the equipment needed to secure it to a crane.

The hatch cover fell and crushed Mr Ismaili, despite first aid being carried out at the scene and an ambulance attending, he was declared dead shortly afterwards.

The court head how there had been no reasonable risk assessment, and that the operation had not been properly planned. There was evidence of a poor safety culture, evidence of a tolerance of poor safety practice and clear evidence of a failure to take the necessary precautions with the actual lifting equipment.

Sky Mare Navigation Company was handed a fine of £120,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £23,973 this afternoon.

The SMN Explorer cargo ship at the Alexandra Dock in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtThe SMN Explorer cargo ship at the Alexandra Dock in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

MCA Lead Maritime Investigator, Dee Upshall said: "This tragedy was entirely avoidable. If a risk assessment had been carried out, or if Mr Ismaili had been given instruction or properly supervised as should have been the case, this death could have been prevented.

"We are committed to stopping dangerous practices, and to holding accountable those responsible."


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