Containers 'spill like dominoes' at port

CONTAINERS were sent spilling like cascading dominoes after a massive crane collided with a stack of boxes at Felixstowe port, it was revealed today.The rubber-tyred gantry crane crashed into the containers on the quayside during routine lifting operations.

By Richard Cornwell

CONTAINERS were sent spilling like cascading dominoes after a massive crane collided with a stack of boxes at Felixstowe port, it was revealed today.

The rubber-tyred gantry crane crashed into the containers on the quayside during routine lifting operations.

It is understood to have knocked one box sideways as it made its lift, which sent the box smashing into others, causing several to fall.


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But port chiefs today rubbished initial claims that the accident caused £1 million worth of damage.

Port corporate affairs manager Paul Davey said the incident had not been serious and no-one was injured.

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"We cannot say at this stage the value of the damage caused because it would simply be too soon to know that figure," he said.

"No-one would be able to stand there on the spot and say how much. Claims officers would have to assess the damage, speak to owners of the cargo which was inside the containers to see whether any of it was damaged, and so on."

The giant rubber-tyred gantry cranes work in the quayside storage parks, placing containers which have been unloaded from ships on stacks and collecting boxes ready to be loaded onto vessels.

Lorries or port road tugs park beneath the RTGs to have the boxes taken off or put on. The RTGs, which have wheels taller than a man, can lift more than 40 tonnes and reach up to five boxes high.

Port fire and rescue crews attended the accident, which happened about ten days ago, along with safety officers, who will carry out an inquiry.

It is not known whether the Health and Safety Executive is carrying out an independent investigation.

There have been a series of accidents of different kinds at the port over the past few years, though the 700-acre port insists its safety record is good and that some accidents are always to be occasionally expected in what is a highly-dangerous working environment in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The port runs regular training sessions for company and non-company employees to deal with small fires, while safety officers give advice, and carry out routine safety inspections, job task safety analysis, risk assessment and accident investigations to increase safety awareness, reducing accidents and loss.

n Have you witnessed or been involved in an accident at Felixstowe port or have a compensation claim pending? If so call Felixstowe Newsdesk on 01394 284109.

* see p26 for dockers pay boost

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