Diver killed while working under ship

Diver killed while working under ship
Mr Kwok Khee Khoon, 36, was taking photographs of welding work done on the vessel when the accident happened, said the Manpower Ministry.

Scuba diving enthusiast Kwok Khee Khoon was so passionate about the sea that he decided to make a living as a commercial diver.

His career as one, however, was short-lived after the 36-year-old died on Wednesday while conducting diving operations with two other divers under a container ship at Singapore's Eastern Holding Anchorage.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), responding to queries yesterday, said Mr Kwok was underwater taking photographs of welding work done on a vessel "when he was sucked into a space in the hull of the vessel".

The police confirmed they received a call about the incident at 6.48pm on Wednesday. The Singapore Civil Defence Force, which was also alerted to the incident, then deployed an ambulance and a fire bike to the scene.

When the officers arrived, Mr Kwok's body had already been retrieved from the sea and he was subsequently pronounced dead by paramedics.

Mr Kwok's younger brother, speaking to reporters outside the Singapore General Hospital mortuary, said he had only been working at Underwater Contractors for a month.

The younger brother, a civil servant who did not want to be named, said Mr Kwok's body was "in a very bad shape".

Mr Kwok's mother was seen crying after the family identified his body at the mortuary yesterday morning.

His brother said a representative from Mr Kwok's employer had visited the family on Wednesday night to inform them about the incident. A staff from Underwater Contractors declined to comment on the incident, saying that MOM is now looking into the matter.

A ministry spokesman confirmed that officers from its Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate were on-site to investigate the incident on Wednesday.

"MOM has instructed the vessel's representative and the worker's employer to stop all underwater works on the vessel," said the spokesman, adding that the ministry is now working with the Police Coast Guard to investigate the incident.

The ministry spokesman added that under the Workplace Safety and Health Act, employers are required to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of their employees when carrying out work.

"This includes work performed in the commercial diving industry," said the spokesman.

Convicted companies face a maximum fine of $500,000, while individuals may be fined up to $200,000 and/or jailed for up to two years. A wake for Mr Kwok will be held at Block 750, Jurong West Street 73, today.

awcw@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 06, 2014.
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