20 Aug 2009

Company admits it failed to ensure safety of workers

6:09 pm on 20 August 2009

A construction company building a sewage outfall pipe near Lyttelton in Canterbury has pleaded guilty to charges laid by Maritime New Zealand after a barge broke loose from a tugboat during a storm last year.

The barge with 11 people on it had begun to drift towards rocks in rough seas on 28 October before another boat was able to secure it and tow it to safety.

McConnell Dowell Constructors has admitted it failed to take all steps to ensure the safety of employees and was operating the barge without the appropriate maritime document.

In a separate incident later the same day, two men who were working on the pipeline went missing and drowned while returning to Lyttelton in a small boat.

Another company, Heron Construction, has been charged by Maritime New Zealand in relation to the incident and will appear in Christchurch District Court next week.