Shut down Keppel Shipyard

October 11, 2011 in Latest News

On the recent deaths of 5 workers and injuring of 7 more at the Keppel Shipyard in Subic, Philippines:

The Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development ( is asking the Department of
Labor and Employment (DoLE) to issue a Stoppage of Operation order at the Subic Keppel Shipyard Incorporated located in Subic, Zambales pending a comprehensive inspection of the safety practices of the ship builder.

On Friday, October 7, 2011 at around 1030 am, a steel ramp being erected at the said shipyard collapsed on workers, immediately killing 5 and injuring 7 more. According to various news reports, the fatalities who
sustained multiple crush injuries were Jay Lord Reyes, Glen Miranda, Mark San Juan, Chrisander Papna and Ronald Lara. Among the injured were Alvin Peeverde, Albert Ricaa, Belmore dela Vega, Eleazar Elopre,
Bernardo Asinas with the names of two others still being determined.

“Rule 1012.02 or /Abatement of Imminent Danger/ of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) allows the DoLE to shut down the operation, require from the company specific measures to correct
dangerous practices and/or maintain a stoppage of operation if the recommendations are not adhered to by the erring company,” said Noel Colina, Executive Director of the IOHSAD, a non-profit, non-governmental
health and safety organization in the Philippines.

According to Colina, a comprehensive investigation of the incident is the least the DoLE can do to avert possible repeat of the appalling accident. “Shut down the operation, investigate and prosecute those
responsible for the accidents. During the shutdown, all the workers must receive full wages.”

“Unless someone gets punished, the names Jay, Glen, Mark, Chrisander and Ronald will just be added to the growing statistics of workplace deaths. Impunity continues inside workplaces wherein safety violators continue
to operate, placing the lives of our workers at great risk,” continued Colina.

Colina reiterated their call for the revocation of DoLE Department Order 57-04 which allows workplaces with more then 200 employees to conduct self-assessment on their labor and safety practices. “Self-assessment
has been proven ineffective in saving the lives of workers, which was underscored by the deaths of 10 workers at the Eton Residences in Makati last January 27, 2011. Only after the accident did the DoLE learn that various deadly safety violations of the work site.”

“Government must conduct mandatory inspection for all workplaces at least once a year. For hazardous workplaces, like shipyard and constructions sites, inspection should be done every 6 months,” ended Colina.

Below is press release of IOHSAD on Keppel incident, various unions

Independent fact-finding team delivers report on the Keppel incident

“The information gathered by the team suggested unsafe working conditions and other labor and safety violations by Keppel Subic Shipyard Inc. (KSSI).”

This statement was made today by Noel Colina, Executive Director of the Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development ( [1]) during a press conference at the Tree House Restaurant in Quezon
City which detailed the information gathered by an independent fact-finding team representing various labor groups. The team visited the families and victims of the recent accident in Keppel Shipyard in Subic Bay, Philippines and gather first hand information on the incident which took the lives of 6 workers with 7 more suffering injuries last Friday, October 7, 2011. IOHSAD is a non-profit, non-governmental health and safety organization based in Manila.

Keppel workers Ronald Lara, Hull Rigger ,Glenn Miranda, 33 years old, Hull Rigger, Cris Xander Papna, 22 years old, Shipwelder, Jhay Lord Reyes, 22 years old, Shipfitter and Mark San Juan, Hull Rigger were declared dead on arrival, while Ronaldo Bagay, 29 years old, Hull Rigger, expired at the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital after sustaining multiple injuries to the face and body. Injured were Berlindo Asinas, 23 years old, Shipfitter, Eleazar Elopre Jr., 27 years old, Shipfitter, Wendy May Balaba, 23 years old, Belmore Dela Vega, Albert Recana, Diosdado Motea and Alvin Penaverde.

According to the incident report submitted by Wilson B. Gaspar, HSE Manager of KSSI, the stern ramp of the ship M/V Tombarra fell after its tower support toppled and the stern wire rope broke unable to hold the
ramp from falling. “Workers of Keppel who were interviewed verified that only a single tower was available to support the 200-ton ramp. This was highly irregular as they usual procedure was to have at least 4 support
towers,” said Noel Colina. “Workers also said that the lone tower support was missing a 10-ton weight support used to hold down the tower. Because of its instability, the tower support toppled and without the support tower, the cables attached from the ship hull to the ramp were not able to hold the sheer weight of the ramp. The tower and the ramp crushed the workers below.”

Colina went on to quote the report of Mr. Gaspar. “According to the the HSE Manager, ‘HSE is recommending fabrication of 2 or more rigid and more sturdy tower supports to avoid recurrence of the same incident’.
This recommendation by Mr. Gaspar verifies the unsafe working conditions inside the KSSI. Shipyard work is already hazardous but was made fatal by allowing a single tower to support the ramp.”

Safety and labor rights violations

“Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which by law should be provided free by the management, were charged to the salaries of the workers. Many of the victims were receiving wages of PhP 250/day when the minimum in Region 3 is PhP 315/day,” stated Colina.

Keppel deploys high-level investigating team

“The team is composed of senior managers representing the interest of the company. This alone casts a shadow of doubt on whether they will be objective enough to point out their own failures in safety which could possibly place Keppel in bad light,” said Colina.

“KSSI management were non-cooperative with the police and the local government unit investigating the incident. They inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the hospital to block any effort from media and
other concerned groups to talk to the victims and their families. This are maneuvers clearly not favoring the unveiling of the truth behind the deaths of the 6 workers,” opined Colina.

“We are also wondering how the inspection team deployed by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) be able to comprehensively perform a safety audit when only the accident site is closed down. The
whole shipyard must inspected, assessed for possible dangers, which will be the basis for appropriate hazard and risk mitigation procedures the company needs to adopt,” continued Colina.

Revoke DoLE D.0. 57-04

IOHSAD reiterated their call for the revocation of the D.O. 57-04. “Self-assessment is not working. Erring companies will cut corners in terms of safety to save money and we cannot allow the safety of workers
to rest on them. Government through the DoLE and the Bureau of Working Conditions should start regularly and mandatory inspections of all workplaces, with special attention to hazardous sites like construction
and shipyards,” stated Colina.

Colina also noted the different procedures of the government with regards to the Eton Residences tragedy and what is transpiring now in Keppel. “In Eton Residences, there was a complete shutdown and immediately after, Mayor Junjun Binay ordered the inspection of 32 more construction sites in Makati. But in the case of Keppel no shutdown happened, except for the accident site while the Mayor of Subic is not even allowed to go inside. There is also no comprehensive inspection of other shipyard, including Hanjin shipyard, like what happened in Makati.”…