MSC Resilient III crew member dies following onboard incident in Bluff, New Zealand

A crew member of MSC Resilient III, a sub-Panamax containership, has died following an onboard incident earlier today while the vessel was undergoing cargo operations in South Port in Bluff, New Zealand.

Illustration; Image by Offshore Energy

The incident was confirmed by the Maritime Union of New Zealand adding that the emergency services were called to the port at around 9:15 a.m. local time.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison said the details about the incident “were sketchy so far.

It has been reported that New Zealand shore-based stevedores had finished work on the vessel when the incident occurred. The container ship had its own cranes but had been worked by onshore cranes operated by local stevedores.

Harrison noted that based on the initial reports from local workers the incident had occurred when onboard cranes were being moved by the crew.

Based on the data from VesselsValue, the 20-year-old 2,600 TEU containership is flagged in Liberia, with Resilient Shipping ltd listed as its registered owner. The vessel is managed by MSC.

We are aware of a tragic incident that occurred in Bluff, New Zealand on 21 December involving a crew member of the cargo ship MSC Resilient III, which resulted in one fatality,” an MSC Spokesperson said in a statement sent to Offshore Energy.

“Authorities have launched an investigation, with the full assistance and cooperation of MSC. Our first priority is to understand the circumstances of the fatality. 

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family of the deceased.”

MSC Resilient III arrived in Bluff on December 19, after making stops in Melbourne, Adelaide, and Freemantle Australia earlier in December.

The union said that the Resilient III was a flag of convenience (FOC) vessel, voicing concerns about the health and safety aboard overseas flagged ships working in New Zealand ports, as FOC vessels are notorious for the issues around safety and seafarers’ rights.

Furthermore, Harrison noted that the inquiry in port health and safety ordered earlier in 2022 by Transport Minister Michael Wood would need to result in clear and actionable methods to make ports safer for workers.

The union pointed out that the latest incident is a “sad and stark reminder of how dangerous the maritime industry is.”

Investigation into the incident is underway.