South Korea: Victims of 2017 crane accident during construction of oil platform still lacking adequate compensation & support, say NGOs; incl. co. responses
On 1 May 2017, six workers were killed and 25 others injured as a result of a crane collision at a Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South Korea, during the construction of an oil platform for the Martin Linge field off the coast of Norway.
The Martin Linge project had been contracted to Samsung Heavy Industries and Technip FMC, while at that time energy companies Total E&P Norge, Equinor (now Statoil) and Petoro AS owned a stake in the Martin Linge license.
Following the collision, president and CEO of Samsung Heavy Industries apologised and said “I take full responsibility for the incident and we will thoroughly disclose the cause of the accident… I will make every effort to prevent such accidents by eliminating any potential future dangers throughout the shipyard so that the lives lost will not be in vain.” (More in article below).
According to South Korean civil society organisations, compensation has only been received by some of the victims and families of the deceased workers, with other compensation cases still pending in court. Further, they report a significant number of workers who suffered physical and mental impacts as a result of the collision have not been included in the official statistics. Over 300 workers were present at the time of the accident and suffer related trauma, however the majority have yet to receive support or treatment accordingly.
In November 2018, South Korean NGOs – including the Samsung Heavy Industries Martin Linge Project Crane Accident Workers Support team – and the Korean Transnational Corporations Watch – issued a press release and open letters to Samsung Heavy Industries, Total, Equinor, Technip and Petoro, asking them to respond to a number of issues related to workers’ health and safety concerns (press release with links to open letters, below).
In January 2019, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the companies to respond to the concerns expressed by the South Korean NGOs. Equinor, Petoro, Technip and Total responded, and their responses are included. Samsung Heavy Industries did not respond.