Saturday, April 17, 2010

Container port could be sued over tornado deaths

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

FREEPORT - The Freeport Container Port could face lawsuits following the tragic deaths of three workers when a tornado hit the port three weeks ago.

There are reports that a settlement may have been offered to the families of the men killed on March 29, a worker told The Tribune.

"I think some monies were offered to them, but I don't think they were happy with the offer," he said.

The Tribune has been unable to confirm the reports. Attempts were made to contact officials at the container port on Thursday.

The container port sustained extensive tornado damage which is expected to be well in the millions.

A gantry crane, which was acquired at a cost of $10 million, was toppled. The three men - Michael Young, 43, Cleveland Lowe, 49, and Shawn Saunders, 23 - were inside the crane doing maintenance work when it fell to the ground.

Four workers - Glen Bodie, Samantha Rolle, Rommel McIntosh and Sammy Swann - were also seriously injured.

The container port operations have been significantly affected as port officials and insurance adjusters continue to assess damage.

Meanwhile, workers are concerned about their safety at the port and the adherence of policies regarding operations during bad weather.

Although they have met with port officials to discuss their concerns, workers are still sceptical that their concerns will be taken seriously.

"We have been told that we must accept that our jobs are high risk," said an employee.

The Tribune made several attempts to reach Container Port officials for comment, however none of them returned calls before press time last night.

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