Container slips, crushes trailer driver at NMPT

Vinod Poojary

Driver Vinod Poojary, 58, was crushed to death after a container slipped from the trailer platform and smashed the trailer driver cabin at the new container yard on New Mangalore Port Trust premises on Wednesday night.

Poojary was an employee of Delta Infralogistics Limited.

Sources told DH that the body was extricated from the smashed cabin after the container was removed from the truck with the help of a crane. Doctors at the NMPT Hospital had declared Poojary dead on arrival. Later, the body was shifted to the District Wenlock Hospital mortuary, sources in Panambur police said.

Yashodara, in the complaint to Panambur police, informed that Poojary had been working in the company as driver for past 17 years. Poojary, assigned night duty, had picked up two containers, each weighing 20 tonnes, unloaded by the vessel ‘Jonian Express’ at Berth No 3 in New Mangalore Port.

At 9.15 pm, Poojary dropped one empty container at the yard located at a distance of one kilometre from the Port. He was proceeding to unload the remaining container, when the container slipped from the trailer platform and smashed the trailer driver cabin, Yashodara said.

“The death has exposed the poor implementation of safety measures in handling of containers,” All India Central Committee of Traders’ Union (AICCTU) President Diwaker S has charged.

‘Poor safety measures’

He told DH, when contacted, that Poojary from Vamanjoor would have been alive if the container had been secured in its place by ‘twist locks’ (also known as safety locks). “None of the five shipping agencies or NMPT insists on strict adherence of safety procedures as it delays the process of loading and unloading of containers,” Diwaker charged and recollected writing a letter to NMPT chairman and Delta Infralogistics Limited to make safety locks mandatory and prevent fatal accidents at work place.

“NMPT and Delta Infralogistics Limited chose to ignore our warning in pursuit of profits,” he lamented.

NMPT Chairman A V Ramana, however, insisted that the Port accords the highest priority to safety and, as routine, the traffic department had issued safe operating procedures (SOP) for handling containers like using anti-skid devices on Wednesday also.

Delta Infralogistics Limited’s letter to Port’s safety officer admitted that the driver was ‘seriously injured’ after the container slipped from its platform and smashed the trailer driver cabin. According to the letter in possession of DH, Delta Infralogisitics Limited pinned the blame on Poojary for applying brakes suddenly.

Ramana said that they were awaiting the report from the dock safety officer for initiating action as per the procedures.

Vinod Poojary is survived by his wife Jalajakshi, a son (26) and a daughter (28).

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