Scaffolding Collapses During Cruise Ship Construction

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An accident at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy has seriously injured one worker and is now under investigation.

The incident happened when scaffolding adjacent to Mein Schiff Relax collapsed, pinning the worker underneath. Poor weather at the time of the accident may have played a role in the collapse.

Shipyard Accident Injures Worker Constructing Cruise Ship

Scaffolding on the side of the hull of TUI Cruises’ upcoming vessel, Mein Schiff Relax, collapsed on Friday, January 19, 2024 at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, in northeastern Italy, approximately 19 miles (30 kilometers) from the popular port of Trieste. The incident happened at roughly 8:30 a.m.

According to local news reports, one construction worker was trapped under the scaffolding in the collapse and suffered severe chest injuries. The Monfalcone Fire Brigade, state police, and other emergency workers swiftly responded and were able to free the man, a 25-year-old worker from Bangladesh. The injured worker was transported to hospital facilities in Trieste.

A dive team from Trieste was also activated to search the water adjacent to the ship’s hull to ensure no other workers were trapped or injured. The rest of the collapsed scaffolding was also searched carefully in case anyone else was injured. At this time, no other serious injuries have been reported.

Video footage of the accident area shows emergency personnel responding on a wet, rainy day. Weather may have played a part in the scaffolding’s collapse, but no exact cause has yet been determined.

The entire area of the accident will be seized by authorities so a thorough investigation can be held to determine the cause of the incident and whether any safety protocols may have been violated.

Few details are available at this time, such as the height of the scaffolding, how many workers were present at the scene, or what project the workers were engaged in at the time of the collapse. All of this will be determined by the investigation.

Will the Cruise Ship Be Delayed?

As the accident happened at the under-construction Mein Schiff Relax, it is possible that the ship may be delayed if the investigation is prolonged. The new ship, originally planned to debut later this year, is now scheduled for her maiden voyage in May 2025, homeported from Palma de Mallorca.

Mein Schiff Relax is the first in the cruise line’s new InTUItion class and at 161,000 gross tons will be the largest in the TUI Cruises fleet. The ship just floated out at the shipyard at the end of November 2023, and will also be the first in the fleet to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) with the capability to also use biofuel.

Mein Schiff Relax Float Out
Mein Schiff Relax Float Out

The scaffolding accident also follows TUI Cruises’ strong start to 2024, with advance bookings up and showing strong consumer desire for more travel. Current bookings exceed the cruise line’s all-time high set in 2019.

Other Shipyard Accidents

Ship construction is an inherently dangerous activity, despite strong safety standards and regulations at all shipyards. Workers operate heavy machinery, handle strong chemicals, and have to work in various weather conditions as they build ships. Different types of incidents are regularly recorded throughout ship construction.

For example, Royal Caribbean International’s new gigantic flagship, Icon of the Seas, suffered from a shipyard fire in February 2023, while the ship was under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland. Damage was minor and no injuries were reported.

In June 2023, a service crane fell from a gantry at the Chantiers de ‘Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France. The crane is part of the service structure that moves cruise ship blocks into position as ships are being built. No ships were damaged and no injuries were reported with that incident.

Cruise Hive’s thoughts are with the injured worker from the Fincantieri shipyard, as well as his family members and friends, with the hopes of a smooth and full recovery.

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