By Kathryn Stone 2015-05-14 11:21:23
A crane operator has died today after plunging around 50 meters (164 feet) into the hold of the container vessel, Maersk Karachi.
The accident occurred shortly after midnight on Thursday morning as a 52-year old crane operator was loading and unloading cargo at the Port of Bremerhaven. According to local police, the container crane boom collapsed dropping the crane cabin and its operator onto the ship below.
Authorities were initially unsure if the man had died in the accident, but after several hours of delicate efforts they recovered the body of the 52-year old. The recovery efforts took much of the morning and required heightened caution due to the ship’s instability. Some portions of the vessels and a container bridge are still at risk of collapse.
German news sources are reporting that a floating crane will support debris removal and stabilization efforts. The extent of damage to the vessel is still unknown, but some estimates say the total could be in the millions.
The waterway has been shut down and operations have been suspended to allow for structural engineers to evaluate the salvage efforts.
The port of Bremerhaven is the fourth-largest container port in Europe, handling over around 5.8 million TEU of cargo according to 2014 figures.
In February 2014 the Maersk Laberinto allided with the docked Maersk Missouri in an area at the port of Bremerhaven in close proximity to the accident reported today. Both vessels only sustained minor damage, but a container bridge was left at a high risk of collapsing.