A recording of this interview was played in court during the trial.†This text is taken from detailed notes written during the trial but is not a formal transcript.
The interview began with the usual caution, stated that the interview was being conducted in the interview room at Hove Police station and those present were asked to introduce themselves.† They were Detective Sergeant Graham Bartlett (GB), HM Health and Safety Inspector Christine Barringer (CB), James Martell (JM) and Peter Thompson, solicitor (PT)
GB: At the end of the interview you will be given details of the procedure for dealing with the tape and how you can have access to it.† Should you wish to speak to your solicitor at any time, youíve only got to tell us, we will stop the tape, leave the room and you can have a private consultation with him.
GB: Iíll remind you that you are under caution.† You donít have to say anything unless you wish to, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something you later rely on in court.† Anything you do say may be given in evidence.† Do you understand?
GB: Mr Martell, to explain whatís happened up to now.† You came to the Police Station by appointment with your solicitor at 11am this morning, at which point I arrested you on suspicion of the manslaughter of Simon Jones.† We have since come to the custody block where your detention has been authorised for the purpose of obtaining evidence by questioning you and I have outlined to your solicitor the facts surrounding a joint investigation between the HSE and ourselves.† Iíd like to ask you now some basic details about the structure of Euromin, the company of which you are general manager at Shoreham.† Could you go through for me how Euromin is set up, where is its head office and what is your role in Euromin?
JM: Iím the general manager of Euromin Ltd, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Euromin Holdings Ltd, which in turn is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dihoopin Tennsin in Holland.† Dihoopin Tennsin are large traders of aggregates, raw materials for the construction industry. †Euromin Ltd is based at Shoreham Harbour, Albion Street and is there to handle imported materials, seaborne vessels discharge them onto the quayside and they are distributed inland from Shoreham Harbour.
GB: Who is your direct manager?† Who do you report to?
JM: I report to a director in Holland.
GB: So you are the most senior person from Euromin in this country?
GB: What other operations or facilities do Euromin have in the UK?
JM:† None.† Just this operation down here and the only employment people we have is in that area.
GB: How long have you been employed by Euromin?
JM: Four and a half years.† I started in February four and a half years ago.
GB: What did you do before that?
JM: I worked for a company in Kent looking after an estate for a Saudi Arabian gentleman for two years and prior to that Iíd been in the dock industry for - well seventeen years ago.† It was really in the recession, four years I was out of it.
GB: You went on to estate management?
GB: So whatís your history in the dock industry?† What level were you working at and what sort of positions did you hold in different companies?
JM: Basically, I set up a grain storage and exporting silo in Shoreham Harbour seventeen years ago and I worked for them for about ten years as a general manager, then I was an estate manager with this Saudi Arabian Gentleman for four years, so Iíve always been in management.
GB: So far as dock work is concerned, what training have you had in relation particularly to health and safety aspects?
JM: Personal training?† I havenít had personal training as such, I mean itís just by literal education and conveying that training to others working underneath me.
CB: As far as Health and Safety actually within Euromin is concerned, as you say youíre actually the most senior member of staff in this country, are you given any advice or guidance from Holland from the parent company as regards procedures, health and safety, anything of that sort?
JM: No.† Basically itís assumed that, you know, the health and safety of the country in which Iím operating is the health and safety they understand.† Whether itís the same in Holland or not; I donít know. I canít exactly remember whether thatís in there, cos I havenít looked at it for four years.† I couldnít tell you what is written in there now.
GB: So far as the people that work under you are concerned, whatís the set up there?
JM: As far as who does what you mean?
JM: Or health and safety?
GB: No, who does what?
JM: Who does what?
GB: Weíll come to the other point in a second.
JM: Well we have an accountant whoís sort of office manager.† We have a man who acts as shipsí agent.†
GB: Is that Mr Grant?
JM: Mr Grant, yes.† Then we have a man who operates sales and distribution of stone.
GB: Whatís his name?
JM: Mick Czaja.† Itís Polish C-Z-A-J-A, thatís right.† Pronounced SHIRE.† Then we have the crane driver, Russell Harris, Jim Harris.† We have a shovel driver who looks after the discharging of ships inside as well, Trevor Ford and then we have two casuals, one of which is full time, Sean Currey and the other is part time.
GB: Whoís that?
JM: At the moment, itís Gary Porter.† We have a salesman selling paving stone; heís out on the road most of the time, with an assistant.
GB: So far as lines of supervision and responsibility are concerned, who, because Iím assuming that you are not at the Shoreham site all the time, who is your deputy?
JM: I donít have a deputy as such, but I have different areas that different people are responsible for, like sales and distribution, Mick Czaja would keep in touch with me, he has a mobile phone and if heís out he would answer directly to me.† Anything to do with ships, Roger Grant would liaise with me and so really thatís the way we do it, rather than having one foreman on site, because they have different areas of responsibility and can be in different places at different times.
GB: So is Roger Grant actually designated as supervisor, ship supervisor?
JM: He basically, anything to do with ships coming in to the wharf, he as the agent is fully responsible for knowing where the ship is when it leaves where its leaving, which country itís leaving, when itís due to arrive and he would keep me informed.† Iíd liaise with him more than anybody else.
GB: What about the unloading operation, who supervises that?
JM: Basically the supervision, itís a bit split into the chappie thatís actually, like Roger Grant, looking after the ship and telling me and he would liaise with the chaps on the ground as to when it was going to start and then Jim Harris as crane driver, would know that he had to be there an hour before to get his machine ready.† Heís worked here for a number of years and the procedure has always been basically the same.
GB: You have, by the nature of this enquiry the need to call on the use of casuals?
GB: Can you explain how that came about?
JM: Well through the regular employees, there always used to be access to people that were out of work and they were paid to come in for a day or half a day to work for a ship.† In the last two years itís been much more difficult to get these chaps because theyíve got jobs, so we had to use an agency to supply part time people, which you know Personnel Selection is the one we use, so we could just phone up the day before and say weíre looking for two people, three people whatever tomorrow to help with a ship.
GB: Would Mr Grant do that?
JM: Yes.† Heíd phone up and get them down.
CB: Was it Roger Grant who initially contacted Personnel SelectionÖ.
JM: In this case, yes.
CB: Agreed to use them?
CB: Were you actually aware of Personnel Selectionís terms of business, the service that they were able to offer you.† Did you have any involvement with that?
JM: Yes, basically we stipulated they came ready to work on ships, which we knew they were used in other parts of the port, so we obviously took their labourers.† Thatís how we used them in the first place.
CB: Was there any sort of written agreement with Personnel about the arrangements?
JM: There was a contract came through the day after in the post as to how many hours, who it was, rate per hour that we had to pay.† And we stipulated they came with hats, jackets and boots, ready to work on ships.† That was part of the agreement.
CB: O.K. and that was actually Roger who agreed that with Personnel Selection?
CB: OK. Thanks.
GB: You say ready to work on ships.† What would you assume is the minimum competency of the people Personnel Selection were sending?
JM: Well I think without being sexist, you wouldnít send three office temps to work on a ship.† You know what I mean, itís dirty work and itís outdoor work and youíre dealing with big machinery.† So you convey that sort of message to get the sort of person that understands the sort of work theyíre going to be doing.† So by outlining that it was working on a shipís dock, Personnel Selection could make a decision on the sort of people they would send.
GB: Is there any training or experience that you would be looking for these people to have attained before they came to work for you?
JM: Not experience as such, youíre looking for somebody whoís got average intelligence and know where he is and what heís doing.† No two jobs in any port are the same; different ways of doing things and by having the sort of people that knew what dock work was about, they knew to keep away from the wharf edge so itís more common sense.† No you couldnít train a man prior to him arriving thatís what you do in this situation, because itís different from day to day, from ship to ship, every ship size and shape is different.† You canít say thatís what we do with this ship because it can be different on any ship any day.
GB: Is there a difference in the skills of working on the dock side and actually working on the ship?
JM: I think itís an operation in itself so the skill really is the operation rather than actually any particular section of it short of driving a machine.† The actual dock labour force are people that understand ships and thatís really all I can say.
CB: Do you know who would make the decision if you had a number of staff present for a shift for a ship?† Who would decide who went where and worked in what area?
JM: Yes, basically weíd have our hard core work force, so if youíve got a difficult ship that was difficult shapes, youíd have your usual one or two men on the quayside and then one or two extras that came from the outside and they would explain to them what to do in the operation they were doing on the quayside.† Likewise in the ship, one of our chaps would be inside the ship and he would show the extra man what he was supposed to do.
GB: Who would ensure that what was being told to the extra man was correct? You say you have core workers.† Who would ensure that I, as the core worker, was telling my mate exactly what was required and all the health and safety implications?
JM:†† This is obviously a difficult area, how many people do you have looking after one man?† We had a hard core of experienced people that had been there for 8 or 9 years, working for the company and through their experience they would make sure whoever came along was doing the right thing.† You know I wasnít there all the time to make sure that the experienced man was doing what he was supposed to be doing.† This as I say is a grey area.† How much supervision do you have up the line?† Our company had worked well over a long period of time doing very similar operations.† Iím sure you can see by our safety record in the past.† This is the first time something terrible has happened; itís only been scratches and bruises.
GB: Do your core work force have any health and safety training themselves?
JM: Theyíve had training over a period of time.† They have to have training to operate the machines.† Obviously they have a lead in period of experience and they get certificated by the training company we use.† Weíve had site awareness, health and safety, fire programmes, first aid you know to keep them up together.† Prior to my arrival the crane driver was on a different training board, I think they use CITB, so yes weíve had ongoing training as far as experience and working the machines are concerned, because those critical men can get into bad ways.† Jim Harris, the crane driver, had an assessment on his suitability for driving that particular machine about a year ago.
GB: You say the crane drivers had certification from CITB, is that appropriate for dock work, Construction Industry Training Board?
JM: Yes, because weíre in the construction industry and you know I think by getting whoever you get, theyíre competent people to train and assess people that they are doing the job correctly.† If you call them in and they assess somebody it reinforces your feeling that heís suitable for driving that machine.
GB: Can you tell me a bit about the site awareness training that you had implemented?
JM: Yes itís a procedure laid down by the HSE.† We had one done, from memory, just over a year ago, where an independent person was brought in, looked around the site and identified areas that things needed doing, and that is ongoing.† Obviously itís a lot more intense now because we realise whatís happened is the loopholes.† If there are loopholes they have to be found.† That person is coming down every month now and sort of like a pot of paint in a workshop is something that should be ventilated in a workshop, so if these are all the things that weíve started to make people more aware of what actually goes on on site.
CB: Can you tell me, I havenít seen any sort of documentation about the site safety training.† I believe it was a company called ATB Landbase.
JM: Yes, Landbase yes.
CB: Are they a local company?
JM: Theyíre national but their office is I think in north Kent, I canít remember, somewhere in Maidstone.† I canít remember the address but the head office is I think in Bury St Edmonds in Suffolk.
CB: O.K. and are you aware of that particular course, the general site safety awareness, are you aware of what the course actually included, what was covered by the course?
JM: Yes, I believe weíve got a copy of their report when they came down, yes, I mean we went through it and we had quite a few items we had to take action on.
CB: I have got a copy of an inspection audit report, but itís particularly - thereís a reference to some training which operatives had which was site training, an actual training session of some sort.
JM: Yes, I havenít actually got the records with me now and what the date was.
CB: It was in March last year I believe, itís just, I want to know if you knew what the course actually consisted of, what it actually covered.
JM: Oh yes, I havenít got it sort of right in mind now, but I mean it was very broad.
CB: Right.† Do you actually have any documentation, which covers, a sort of syllabus, or might have covered?
JM: Yes, Iíve got it back at the office.† Have you not had a copy of that?
CB: No, I havenít.† Thatís why I want to clarify.† I know the plant operatives have had specific training.
JM: Iím not putting everything thatís happened here a bit sort ofÖ.
JM: You know what I mean?
CB: Yes thatís fine.
GB: Excuse me; can you introduce yourself?† Just for the sake of the tape, despite the sign saying engaged somebody has walked in and walked out again.† Can you confirm that that person hasnít stayed in the room Mr Martell?
PT: I will confirm it as well.† You had no warning it was going to happen and I saw you put on the warning light that should have precluded it.
GB: Thanks very much.† I understand the risk assessment, that was carried out in February of last year, that you were referring to was carried out when there was no loading or unloading of ships.
GB: Have you ever had one done when there has been an unloading?
JM: We have had one done since, yes.
GB: Since?† What since the ďaccidentĒ?
GB: I see.† Occasionally, and it would seem that it was the case in this incident, Mr Grant cannot get sufficient numbers of staff until right at the last minute.† Youíre obviously very shorthanded.† In what, if any circumstances, would you consider it appropriate to use members of the shipís crew to assist?
JM: Very rarely, very rarely.† When you refer to difficult to get people, itís difficult to get people if you know exactly when the shipís going to arrive.† A ship can, due to weather, be 12, 24 hours late, so you can have a gang of chaps come in at midday and the ship wonít arrive till midnight the following night, so you can sort of give notice when you want certain staff and in this case as youíre aware we were 2 staff short, but thatís very rare, I mean I think from memory, I canít think, unless a ship wanted to get away on a Friday night that a shipís crew would help.† I canít remember when it was last used.
GB: From statements given by people who were there, weíre led to believe that a crew member of the Cambrook was acting as hatchman.
GB: On that occasion, do you know why that was?
JM: Because we were shorthanded and rather than not have a hatchman we asked the shipís master if he could provide two extra people to assist with discharging.† He agreed.
GB: How critical do you see the role of the hatchman?
JM: Itís as critical as the crane driver himself.† The crane driver is an experienced person whoís been doing that job for a number of years and itís a relationship between two people.† If the crane driver doesnít like the individual, the signs heís giving, heís free to say, ďI canít understand what this man is sayingĒ.
GB: Would you look for any previous experience or competency in a crew member acting as hatchman in an emergency?
JM: Shipís crew are familiar with shipping operations and you now, backwards and forwards of a ship and discharging and loading of cargo.† Obviously theyíre doing it every day like youíre doing your job and Iím doing mine.† Really you ask the master if he can provide two people; you assume heís got the intelligence to provide somebody that is, you know, understands whatís going on.
GB: Would you consider that the competent use of the English language would be an asset to a hatchman?
GB: You donít?
JM: No, itís all sign language.
GB: O.K. What would you expect, you say itís a relationship between the crane driver, would you expect any liaison between them before the operation started to ensure that the hatchman is familiar with the same sign language that the crane driver is familiar with?
JM: Yes.† I mean itís hard to lay down, whilst there is a kind of law from one port to another, youíll find thereíll be a different sign language, but as long as the crane driver understands what the sign language is, and in this case Iím led to believe the crane driver was happy with the sign language he was being given, then that is the way it works.† Itís a relatively simple operation whilst what happened is very severe, donít get me wrong, itís up or down, left or right and thatís the limit of the operation.
GB: Sean Currey says that during the course of the unloading, the grab was coming in lower than he thought it should do and he was becoming quite frustrated with the hatchman because of that.† Are you aware of any way that that should be communicated to the hatchman and then on to the crane driver?
JM: I wasnít actually aware of this but I have since learnt that the grab was coming in lower than was normally expected because of the length of the chains, thatís the only reason I can give for that but I would normally expect there would be ample distance between the grab and the actual bag.† Thatís the only reason I can give for why it was coming in lower.
GB: What would you say is ample distance?
JM: Well an absolute minimum of 2 metres from grab to bag. I donít know what it was in this case, but Iím led to believe it was a lot less than normal. But then youíve got plenty of room to get underneath the grab and hook the chains on the bags.
GB: That may be true, but from Sean Currey it seems the grab was coming in so low that the chains were actually lying on top of the bags, and he and Mr Jones were having to scrabble across the bags to get the chains to put on the handles of the bags, which indicates that there wasnít that much distance between the bottom of the grab and the bags, because the chains were slack on top of the bags. Would you consider that was satisfactory?
JM: From what you say, that would be too close.
GB: Whose responsibility is it to correct that, if they see it happening?
JM: Well there again itís the hatchway man telling the crane driver where to stop the grab and you know thatís the way theyíve always worked it. And what actually happened on the distance, Iím not aware what the distance was.
GB: So if we take Mr Curreyís account as accurate, because he is the only one who was in the hold who is still around to tell us, the hatchman should have seen that and signalled to lift them up.
JM: To lift them, yeah, I mean if they were that slack, knowing they were short chains, Iím surprised they could even get them on to the bags, because I knew the chains had been shortened so I wasnít aware they were that short. But if that happens more than once Iíd assume he would get out of the hold, go and find someone, and say, look here this chapís not doing what heís supposed to be doing, could someone please help and get it right.
CB: Do you know on how many previous occasions Sean Currey had actually been involved in this specific operation in the hold?
JM: Iím not actually aware, but I know he had been involved in that particular operation of lifting bags with that crane, but I donít know how many times. I suppose heíd worked for us 2 or 3 months before this incident.
CB: OK, thanks. Just one question before we go on and talk about the excavator itself, you mentioned before that Personnel Selection were told that any operatives they sent to you should have their own hard hats, jackets and boots.
CB: Who was responsible on site for actually enforcing the use of protective equipment?
JM: Well I suppose at the end of the day I am but not being there of course and whilst these chaps are told to bring their hats with them, they bring them and whether they put them on or not is the problem. Well, not the problem is who is, as I say, it must stop with me.
CB: You werenít on site all the time. Did you do any general monitoring; actually walk round the site to see what was going on?
JM: Yeah. Iím sure you understand the hot dusty nature of this. Itís how much can you do to ensure to that somebody actually puts his hat on. The minute you go out the gate, he takes his hat off, so you can supply them with jackets, ďPlease wear this at all timesĒ, it lasts 5 or 6 days. Monday morning, forget about it. Put your jacket on if youíre walking up the yard, but thereís no one specifically responsible to make sure everybodyís got hats, boots and coats on all the time.
CB: OK. As far as you were aware, did the operatives generally speaking wear protective equipment?
JM: I believe in this case the person wasnít. I think heíd left it in the mess hut. I think he was wearing a jacket and boots but not his hat.
GB: OK. You say you canít be on site all the time. Were you there on the day of the ďaccidentĒ?
JM: No I wasnít there.
GB: Not at all?
JM: No. I was in London.
GB: Right. As you canít be there all the time, and you are employing casual workers and people who may not be as familiar as you are with health and safety responsibilities, had you not considered designating somebody to ensure that health and safety obligations are enforced in their absence.
JM: I donít have a specific health and safety officer. Itís a very difficult question to answer. You say, ďWhen this sort of situation occursĒ. £12000 to £15000 a year, I can justify it, but you know it comes down at the end of the day to, how many people do you have or do you need to have, checking what somebodyís doing. And I say, always having a hard core of experienced people that have worked in that situation for a long time, because the people that have the experience have told people, ďDonít go here, donít go there, I shall be operating at this end of the ship, you go that end of the ship.Ē Itís an industry, no 2 days are the same, no 2 ships are the same, no 2 commodities are the same, and youíve got a gang of people that you respect their intelligence to operate the machines safely, because nobody wants to injure anybody, so you take diligent care in the operations youíre doing. That craneís worth £500,000. The driver has been given responsibility to drive it, heís paid a reasonable salary to drive it safely and carefully, so you rely on the co-operation of your staff. I believe I have a good working relationship with my staff. You rely on them to be sensible, not only safe but sensible to start with, and that must lead to safety, but as for a health and safety inspector employed by the company, we havenít got any.
GB: I wasnít suggesting that you should have somebody permanently employed in that but, for example, couldnít you have given that task to Mr Grant?
JM: I mean he was an assistant that dealt with health and safety matters. If somebody wanted a jacket, heíd be the person to go and get it.
GB: But would he make sure the person was wearing it?
JM: This is the situation we have here. The person involved didnít have his hat on. You know, he was told to bring his hat with him. He brought it with him; do you put it on his head for him? Roger Grant was my assistant in a lot of things. Primarily heís my senior assistant because shipping matters are the thing that matters most, and heís involved with that and he was my liaison man as far as health and safety was concerned.
GB: I think Sean Currey said that the wearing of hats and jackets was at the discretion of the individual.
GB: Is that right?
JM: The law states 1, 2 and 3. As I say, at 9 oíclock at night, a chappie takes off his hat because itís hot or sunny or very dusty or whatever, do you sack him? Itís a grey area, a very difficult area, and Iím sure Ms Barringer understands that. In hindsight this chappie didnít have a hat on. I donít think it would have made any difference.
GB: No. I agree.
JM: A bang on the head could be worse than what happened here, where you get a chappie thatís injured for life. If Roger Grantís not there, some one takes his hat off. Somebodyís got to watch every individual all the time. If somebody takes their hat off, theyíve got to put it back on again. Itís a very difficult grey area to monitor and I donít know how you do it.
GB: We may well have covered this point, but I need to be quite clear: Who would be responsible for allocating specific tasks on a specific unloading operation to specific people?
JM:† Jim Harris is the crane driver, so heís informed that a ship is coming in at 8a.m. tomorrow. Itís got a certain commodity on it. Roger will tell him that ship is coming in then. He would have his crane ready and would be operating it. Trevor Ford would drive the shovel or the Bobcat. If it was a long ship there would be 2 crane drivers on, 2 different cranes. There could be one relief driver and one who was going to work late into the night. If it arrived at 3p.m. and had to be out by, say, midnight, we would work on till late. There would be 2 drivers who would take it in turns to drive the big crane. Between them they would work it out. Say, I want my meal break at 11 oíclock so you work from 11 till 2. Roger would give the information to them that I would, having liaised with Roger, say right that shipís got to go out by midnight. He would give that information to Jim Harris who would then formulate his plan for unloading the ship, and that was discussed with Roger which came back to me and Jim said he was going to work straight through and finish by 11 oíclock or weíll work so much tonight and finish it off tomorrow morning. I would give yes or no, that would be the overall plan and he would go over to the Bobcat driver, Trevor Ford, and say weíre starting at 4, weíll work till 6 tonight, so thereís no need for you to come in. I just need one man here with me, then we all come in at 4a.m. tomorrow and youíll be on the Bobcat, Iíll be on the crane, and weíll do it this way: Iíll work that end, you clear that end out, so itís a question of me, Roger Grant, Jim Harris and the crane driver and him liaising with the shovel driver as to how the operation is going to take place.
GB: So all these people youíve mentioned have specific jobs for which theyíre specifically trained?
GB: But when youíre talking about having people unhooking the chains on the quay and those that are going in the ship, who would be responsible for saying, ďYou go and enter the hold, and you stay up hereĒ?
JM: It would be Roger Grant to convey to Jim Harris, and in this case Roger Grant said they were one short in the ship. I asked the shipís master for an extra man to go in the hold and for one on the quayside.† Mick Czaja was working on the quayside in this case. Heís a forklift driver, so he would be responsible for making sure they took the chains off and which bags he took away from the quayside. So there are different units of operation if you like, but all fed through from me to Roger, to Jim Harris to the forklift driver to the chappie working on the shore, but thereís nobody actually in charge of every man doing everything all the time.
GB: So no one has a co-ordination responsibility?
JM: No one is there.
GB: Youíve got 5 people. ďYou 2 go down there, you 2 stay up here, you act as hatchmanĒ. You donít have anything like that?
JM: Everything revolves around the crane, thatís the central operation of the whole thing, discharging the ship from the crane. That crane driver, he can see this is going on or thatís going on. If they canít get the bags off quick enough because he can get them out faster, then he can call up the weighbridge, speak to Roger, say, ďWe need an extra chappie on the bags on the quaysideĒ. So heís the focal point, being the largest machine in the operation, thatís where everything is gravitating, around that crane.†
GB: How long have you had this particular crane, the Liebherr?
JM: I believe itís been there for 6 or 7 years.
GB: So before you were there?
JM: Oh, yeah.
GB: Have you ever used it yourself?
JM: Not actually driven it myself, but I used to own one on a previous operation in Shoreham Harbour.
GB: Right, so you are familiar with its controls?
GB: Or the controls of that model?
JM: Yeah, how it works, what it does, up, down, all the rest of it.
GB: Right. The controls as far as the grab and arm are concerned are on a sort of like sticks on the left and right, levers on the left and right. How sensitive are the levers?
JM: Fairly sensitive.
GB: Do you know the reason for that?
GB: Right, but having used a different machine, youíre happy that they are sensitive, and thatís backed up by Liebherr as well?
GB: What is your understanding of the use of that excavator with a grab? Whatís the grab for?
JM: The grab is just for discharging bulk materials out of the hold of a ship.
GB: How? You say bulk materials, loose bulk materials?
JM: Yeah, loose bulk materials. You have up and down and left right and slewing, and then a closing mechanism for the grab, which closes the grab, brings the material out on the quayside.
GB: Right. You are, or have been, using it for a different purpose?
GB: Can you explain how that came about?
JM: Itís common practice with that type of machine. Iím aware of several other cases where that machine is used for lifting out pieces of machinery, out of the hold. In this case it was used for lifting bags out, with a chain adaptation, from the hold of a ship. I know the machine is used for lifting timber out of ships in other wharves. Itís something that Iíve known has been used for a number of years.
GB: Have you ever read the safety instructions for that particular piece of machinery?
JM: I think I have read them, in the past.
GB: You have?
GB: Right. I have a copy of them here, marked GEV/5. There is a section saying during actual work (this is provided to me by Liebherr), the third point down says, ďDo not allow any person within the attachment range of the machineĒ. What do you understand that to mean?
JM: I suppose itís the slewing area of the machine.
GB: In laymanís terms, the opening and closing range of the grab?
GB: How do you enforce that in the operation you use where youíve got chains and people working beneath it?
JM: Well, I can see what youíre getting at. Itís an operation that had been carried out on that wharf for a number of years, for lifting up bags out of a ship, and I suppose if that machine is to move left, right, any way, somebody can touch a lever and what happened, happened. Equally, the whole boom could come down on somebodyís head. The machine can move like a car, can hit somebody, you know. What is the working area? As far as they were concerned, that was an operation that had been carried out for as long as I can remember, that Iíve been there and before, quite safely.
GB: It may be something that has been done for years, but Gerry Vines, the service manager for Liebherr, tells me that attachment for that excavator is there to handle and re-handle loose loads. Can you think of any circumstances where a person would need to be in the attachment range when it was being used to handle and re-handle loose loads?
JM: The only time is if the Bobcat is in the bottom of a ship working. As the machine comes round, it can pass over the Bobcat, because the Bobcat is trying to push the last of the bulk material up here, so the crane is slewing around to get to the last of the bulk material. The Bobcat would be here, so it can quite easily slew over that area, which in the strictest sense would be within the slewing area, yes.
GB: Right. Iím not familiar with the Bobcat. Is that enclosed?
JM: Like a mini-bulldozer, it works on the bottom of a ship to push up the materials all the time.
GB: But is the driver enclosed?
GB: So thereís a degree of protection there?
GB: This drawing of a lifting hook is marked GEV/1. Have you ever seen one of those before?
JM: Yes, I have.
GB: Where have you seen that before?
JM: I actually had one myself, and we do have something very similar to that at Euromin.
GB: Right. What is that for?
JM: Thatís for lifting out† (inaudible: warning buzzer sounds)
GB: We have 2 minutes. Iíll have to change the tape.
JM: And if you were working all day lifting packed timber out of the hold of a ship youíd use that type of hook.
GB: How would you do that? What would you attach to the hook?
JM: Youíd have slings on the hook.
GB: Could you have chains on the hook?
JM: Yeah. You could have anything on the hook.
GB: Mr Martell, can you confirm that while the tape has been off, we havenít spoken about the matter for which you have been arrested?
GB: Can you also confirm that nobody has entered or left the room in that time?
GB: Iíll remind you that you are still entitled to free legal advice, and if you wish to consult with your solicitor, you have only to tell us and we will leave the room for you to have a consultation. I remind you that you are still under caution. You donít have to say anything unless you wish to do so, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something, which you later rely on in court. Do you understand that?
GB: OK. We were talking about a lifting hook, and I think my last question was, ďCould you attach chains to it?Ē
GB: You mentioned, prior to me asking that question, that you had a similar one.
GB: Can you tell me about that one? Where did that one come from? Whatís that one?
JM: Liebherr make hooks for these types of machines. It takes about 2 hours to take them on and off. In this case, we werenít using this type of hook because there was a small number of bags to get out of the ship. It was something we had made as an adaptation, which Iím sure youíre aware of, by welding hooks to the central column of the grab to attach the chains to.
GB: Right. So youíve got the hook, but because of the number of bags that were being shifted on this occasion, you didnít use it. Have I got that right?
JM: Correct, a small number of bags.
GB: Have you ever used the hook when youíve got a mixed load of loose aggregate and bags?
JM: Yes. If we have a very large number of bags, say 200 or 300, where it will be half a dayís work lifting them up, we use a hook.
is the advantage of using the hook over the adapted grab?
GB: Thereís no advantage, so why do you use it when youíve got a large load?
JM:† Well, itís just the central column of the crane has got a hook, so you donít have a central column of the grab itself. If youíve got another crane on, itís easier to place them on the quayside, and you can get more chains on a hook than on the small hooks we had welded to the grab.
JM:† So you can lift out more bags per the time.
GB:† Is it more or less safe to use the hook than the grab?
JM:† Well, obviously in hindsight, itís safer to use the hook.
GB:† Why would that be?
JM:† Well because of whatís happened here.
GB:† Because there would be nothing to close on some oneís head?
JM:† Yeah. Thereís been a touching of a lever somewhere along the line, thatís activated the closing of the grab, so obviously I have to say that.
GB:† Right. So by not taking the opportunity to change the hook, the way I see it is that the people in the hold are more likely to have an accident.
JM:† If the chains are full length, and some one accidentally operates a lever, it shouldnít have happened. There seem to be two or three things that have occurred to cause this ďaccidentĒ. I say, we put these hooks on. I wouldnít wantonly walk around doing things that I knew were dangerous. Iíd never known that grab to close, on its own or by the operator thatís used that machine. Heís an experienced man, and I wouldnít want to put any oneís life in danger by doing something that would do what happened. I mean, there were 2 or 3 things that happened that caused it. As I say, it was a small number of bags, we were using hooks fitted by a competent welder on to the shaft of the grab, and one would not expect them to, no more than somebody would drive some one at a brick wall. The man didnít intentionally operate the lever to close the grab. He could just as easily drop the whole boom on top of some one who was in the hold of a ship, or turn round and hit a lorry that had parked behind him that wasnít anywhere near him at the time. But that operation of the lever, Iím sure it was accidental, and Iím sure youíre aware that it canít operate on its own. I believe the machine had been geared, as far as inspectors have looked at it, thereís nothing wrong with that machine. Weíve had meticulous maintenance by the manufacturer. Any slightest thing wrong with it, we call the manufacturer to look at it. Iím sure youíve seen all the records to support that. So weíve looked after it mechanically. Would you say that some one would intentionally operate the lever? Of course they wouldnít. The man has been assessed as fully competent to drive that machine, so you would not expect him to touch that lever.
GB:† There is no suggestion at all, unless Mr Harris tells us differently that he was getting a hand signal from the hatchman, that the lever was operated intentionally, but, as you say yourself, itís an extremely sensitive lever.†
GB:† The day in question was in late April, but it was a cold wet day and I would presume, I donít know because I havenít interviewed Mr Harris yet, that he was wearing some kind of warm clothing, particularly on that exposed part of the wharf. Iím not saying it could happen every time, but it is reasonable that those levers could be nudged.
JM:† I wouldnít accept that would be reasonable, no.
GB:† The only alternative is, if he hasnít accidentally nudged that lever, is that heís done it deliberately for some reason. Itís not a question of him doing it to hurt some one; that doesnít come into it at all.
JM:† In that operation, he would not close the grab. He would be well aware that† [the controls] were most sensitive. Iím not trying to push it off on to anyone, donít get me wrong, but I have to question whether he did it, thinking he was doing something else was happening. I donít know, I havenít spoken to him about it purposely, because I donít think itís right to, but thereís no question about it. This accidental touching of the lever causes the grab to close, and I think youíve done that in your engineerís reports, and weíve had ours as well, that machine is A1.
JM:† So, you know, well how could I protect myself in my position, somebody accidentally touching a lever any more than somebody accidentally taking his foot off the clutch of a lorry when thereís somebody standing in front of him.
GB:† The chains, as you have already mentioned, were shortened.
JM:† I wasnít aware of that until 2 or 3 weeks ago.
GB:† Do you know why they were shortened?
GB:† In what circumstances would they be shortened?
JM:† They shouldnít be shortened.
GB:† They shouldnít be shortened?
JM:† No. Thatís why they were made the length they were.
GB:† Right. Iím going to show you a photograph. I apologise because it does show Mr Jones after the ďaccidentĒ on the bags, but itís not particularly gruesome. Thatís photo 16 of an album marked MLB/1. You can see coming from the jaws of the grab there is quite a cluster of chain at the top, which indicates that itís been shortened to some degree. You can see where the hooks are. They are actually hooked round the handles of the bag and fairly taut as well at that time. You know the operation better than I do. How much have those chains been shortened in your estimation?
JM:† A metre and a quarter I would think if you double it up, because obviously the shortening is twice that length. Yeah, Iíd say a metre and a quarter, more than a metre anyway. I donít know whether it was measured.
CB:† The length was measured when we were there. The chains were by then laid on the dockside. A measurement was made on the day of the ďaccidentĒ.
JM:† And if you take twice the length up there, youíve got the bottom of the grab here.
JM:† But as I say, short of measuring it, I donít know.
GB: Would you say, in your estimation, theyíre too short?
JM: Well they were made a certain length to do that particular job, theyíre no more than two months old.† I canít say exactly what date they were replaced but we have them checked every year.† They were a new set of chains that were made up, I think two or three months before the ďaccidentĒ.† I donít know if youíve got a record of that, when they were delivered to the site.
GB: If that grab were to close, and as I say, Iíve not seen it.† Iíve seen a similar grab, but if that grab were to close, would the chain still remain outside the jaws of the grab?
JM: No, inside the jaws of the grab.† The chains, if they were at full length would be inside the jaws of the grab.
GB: Sorry the ends of the chains.
JM: Oh theyíd be well outside.
GB: They would still be outside?
JM:† Oh yeah.
GB: Even though theyíd been shortened?
JM: Oh yes.
GB: Right.† Whatís the self discharge unit?† Do you know what that is?
JM: On the ship?
GB: I donít know.† Sean Currey has said in his statement that the chains were shortened to his knowledge on the instructions of Mr Harris because they were catching on the self discharge unit.† Would that be part of the ship?†
JM: No, thatís on the other side of the ship.† Itís on the port side.
JM: The ship was starboard side to and the conveyor belt for self discharge was on the port side.
GB: Right, so it would be unlikely to catch on that particular unit whatever that is?† I presume that only Mr Harris can tell us why they were shortened.
CB: Can I just follow up on that point? You mentioned earlier that the hook wasnít used that day on the Cambrook handling a small number of bags.† There was also a self discharge unit for the bulk cargo on the Cambrook.
CB: Apart from lifting bags out of the hold, what else would the Liebherr 984 have been used for on that day as far as you know?
JM: Nothing.† The only thing was to get those, I canít remember how many bags out, so the self discharging mechanism could continue, to get those bags out of the way off the quayside.
CB: And then the Liebherr wouldnít have been used for anything else?
CB: O.k. Thanks.
GB: So in view of that, could the hook have been put on before the Cambrook arrived?
JM: I would say with hindsight from whatís happened, one would have to say you should use the hook, but it didnít happen before.† You know, itís in retrospect, but Iím not sure what the timing was of the discharge, when the ship came in, did it come in when it was supposed to come in, was there another ship waiting to come in and because of the small number of bags Ė well an hour and a halfís work to get those bags as opposed to three and a half if you change the hook and the grab.† But I had those hooks specifically welded on to the shaft of the grab some two to three months prior, by a competent welder Ė a design of hook which I was led to believe was satisfactory for the job.† The company I used were familiar with what we were trying to do.† I came down with the man and had a look at what we trying to do.† You know, one doesnít expect somebody to somehow or a Liebherr to operate in that operation Ė itís never happened before.† I know you can say once is too much, but itís not a situation you expect to happen.
GB: Do you ever use the Liebherr to unload loose aggregate from ships?
JM:† Yeah, thatís its prime task.
GB:† OK. Do you know when it was last used for that?
JM: No, Iím not aware of that.
CB:† Do you know when was the last time that the hook attachment was used on the Liebherr?
JM:† No, Iím not aware.
JM:† Previously they had always used this chain wrapped round the central shaft, which is why I put the hooks on, to make it safer, so that having put the eye of the chain on the hook, it couldnít come off, thatís why I did it. Primarily to make it a safer operation and easier to use, easier for everyone to understand, two separate hooks rather than one hook, the loading was correct Iím led to believe for using those hooks for the job it was used for. Having worked with this type of machine for a number of years, itís an operation lifting he Bobcat in and out of the ship, weíd use those hooks on with those chains on to actually lift the Bobcat in and out, which is done to start and finish the operation, and I believe thatís been common practice in a number of other cases using this machine.
CB:† If there was a choice of attachments, who would have made the decision on how to use them?
JM:† To use..?
CB:† Which attachment was going to be used? Jim Harris was obviously brought in as a crane operatorÖ
CB:† Öon this particular day, he knew what the operation was?
CB:† He came in at a certain time to start the operation, and youíre obviously saying that to change over the hook would have taken a couple of hours before that?
CB:† So who would have made the decision whether or not the hook attachment was to be used?
JM:† I donít want to appear to be using anybody else as an excuse for what happened, but Jim Harris is fully competent to drive that machine, and has been assessed as fully competent. Heís got years of experience driving it.† If he was to say to Roger, ďLook, I want to use the hook todayĒ, heís quite free to do that at any time. At no time have I ever said, ďNo, you canít use the hookĒ. If he wanted to use the hook, he could. But the main thing in this case was that those two hooks were welded on, to make it safer and also if they needed to get bags out of a ship quickly, then this delay of two and a half hours, getting the hook on and off, which is not a very pleasant operation in itself, and itís down to Jim Harris to decide. He had a full free hand. If he wanted to do something on that crane like changing a hook, he could do so.
CB:† It is fully the crane operatorís responsibility for how itís used?
JM:† Yeah, heís fully responsible for that machine: greasing it, maintaining it, reporting any faults, which heís always done.
CB:† OK, thanks.
GB:† We have covered that.† You werenít aware of when the hook was last used?
GB:† But Jim would have been fully aware of what you just explained, it was his decision basically?
JM:† Oh yeah, and starting times, finishing times. He was always very aware, because of all his experience, of how the operation works.
GB:† Have you ever seen the hook being used?
JM:† Yeah, oh yeah.
GB:† You have?
JM:† Oh, yeah?
GB:† When did you last see it being used?
JM:† Well, Iím just saying, I canít remember.
GB:† You canít remember. Was it a year ago, or more recently than that?
JM:† On no, I honestly canít remember and Iím not prepared to say because I donít know.
GB:† No, thatís fine, I wouldnít ask you to guess. Now from your explanation as to why you had the hooks welded to the inside of the grab, it would seem that you were foreseeing that there was a danger of loads being dropped, which is why you wanted to make it safer than just wrapping them round the inside.
GB:† When you were foreseeing that, did you not see that people were, and still would be, needing to work within the operating area of that particular attachment?
JM:†† Yeah, when you put these hooks on, you bring the grab right down close to the quayside and I felt because of different casuals coming on, that wrapping chains around that area is open to somebody not wrapping it round correctly, so by putting a definitive lock-on device on a hook, you can just put them over the eye and the crane driver can see both sides because he can swivel the grab around, that theyíre on there correctly and thatís safe.
GB:† Right, so that side of it is covered. But now you had decided that it was an option to use chains, whether they are thrown over or hooked on as they were on the day, it is critical that the crane driver is aware of the height of the grab as he is lowering it into the hold of the ship.
GB:† Now he can only be communicated that information by the hatchman because he canít see from where he is and obviously the depth that the grab goes down.† So it brings me back to the question of the critical nature of the role of the hatchman, from my recollection it was left that the master of the ship would be asked to provide people for specific tasks and therefore you or Mr Grant would be satisfied that the master of the ship would be aware of the particular job that person would be doing and their competency to do it.† Is that realistic?
JM:† Yes.† I would just like to take issue with you on the word critical, once the chains are hanging over there, the men are moved to one side and they just hook the chains on so everything is still, the chains have stopped swirling around.† Once they have come to rest, two blokes go in there, hook the chains on to the eyes of the bag, then move back and the grab is lifted up.† Whatís happened here, as I say, is these two unfortunate circumstances, which has made it an unsafe operation.† Itís not critical how high that grab is, because if youíve got the chains laying on the top of the bags, all theyíve got to do is once the grab has stopped, they go in, hook it on to the eyes, move back, it lifts the bags out, so thereís no one underneath the grab because itís still.
GB:† Well there is if itís coming too low and the chain is too short.
JM:†† Yes, but I mean it is still; itís at a level, so it doesnít go up or down.
GB:† No, Iím with you on that.
JM:† Then they go in and put the chains on, so whatís happened here, obviously with the grab closing, youíve got a very different scenario with short chains and youíd still expect the chains to be lying on top of the bag.† But those men wouldnít go under the grab until it was still, so whatever level, whether itís two foot, three foot, six foot above the bag, itís supposed to stay still.
GB:† If itís eight feet above the bag, and itís still, that is arguably safe because Ö.
JM:† Thatís what should have happened of course.
GB:† Nobody is eight feet tall.
JM:† No, exactly.
GB:† If itís two feet above the bag, it becomes less safe, despite the fact that itís still, because as happened in this case, for some reason, the grab has closed.† Only the hatchman can tell the crane driver when heís gone in too low.† Now if the hatchman doesnít understand the signals and as I understand it doesnít even understand English, how is he able to ensure the safety of those in the hold?
JM:† I think they are perfectly safe within two or three feet of any height, thereís no set height above the bags.† Two things have happened here, the chains have been shortened, which has meant the grab is going to come closer to the bags than need be to get the chains to rest on top of the bags.† As I say, I donít know what the measurement would have been, the difference, but my guess is something like four to five feet difference in the height which was necessary to get , as you can see from that picture, theyíre not very slack on top of the bag and you know, within two or three feet, it doesnít make any difference to how low the thing is to the bag.
GB: We could argue this point all day, but my view is that if somebody has to put their head within the grab to put a chain on, that is dangerous.† If they donít have to put their head within the grab, then that is not dangerous.
JM: Yeah, I donít actually know what happened here, there should have been enough room for that grab to close if anybody is still standing on top of the bag, not that they do because Ė whether it was operated at the time he was about to lift is the time they should have been out of the way anyway.† It strikes me that they have put some chains on but they havenít put them all on in that photograph.
GB: And the grab was still, we presume the grab was still.
GB: So the fact that theyíve gone in because itís still, didnít save Mr Jonesí life.
JM:† No, exactly, because of what has happened, obviously with the closing of the grab, which is something Ė how can I prevent it of having happened?† I donít know.
GB:† I would say that you could have ensured that you had a properly trained and competent hatchman who was able to tell the crane driver that itís too dangerous with the chains that low because the grab is having to come in too low.
JM:† To be fair, thatís your opinion; I worked in ships for a long time.
GB:† And I offer it only as that.
JM:† Exactly, I mean if weíd hit ships and people with the grab, you know from our accident record, you can see itís good.† They worked as a team very well for a long period of time.† How can you prevent accidents happening unless you watch, three people watching what everybody is doing, you know there are always times when something like this occurs.† You canít rectify it.† I know itís a life weíre dealing with, you know, itís not the sort of thing I take lightly, but two things seemed to have happened here, that shouldnít have happened.† How can you blame anyone for it I just donít know.† We can all do different things after the event.
GB:† I would say thereís more than two things that have caused this death, there was a whole chain of things that have happened, which remove any one of them from the equation and Mr Jones would be alive today.† That is that there are untrained and inexperienced staff in the hold.† The hatchman clearly didnít know what he was doing, the hook was not used when it could have been used and this customised grab was used.† The chains were shortened and there was nobody designated to supervise the operation.† Now, having looked at the evidence obtained so far, I would say remove any one of those from the equation and Mr Jones would still be here. †Youíre the general manager of Euromin, there is nobody within the jurisdiction of the criminal courts in this country above you, as far as Euromin is concerned, so there is a responsibility on you to ensure that that operation is safe.† There are other people who you have said Ė O.K. Mr Harris is responsible for what happens with the crane, and if you tell him those chains should not be shortened under any circumstances and he does it, well you canít be there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.† But as I understand it, youíve never told him that the chains should not be shortened under any circumstances, so there must be some responsibility on you for allowing all those factors to be in place.† I would say that itís more than the fact that the chains were shortened without your knowledge and the grab closed for some other reason.
JM: My reply to that is that if the grab hadnít closed and the chains hadnít been shortened, the ďaccidentĒ wouldnít have happened.
GB: Of course.† But equally if the hatchman had known what he was doing and the people down there had been trained and there had been a supervisor, the ďaccidentĒ wouldnít have happened.† Have you got any more questions?
CB: No.† Not as far as I am concerned.
GB: I have asked all the questions I wish to ask at this time.† Is there anything you would like to add?
GB: Is there anything you wish to clarify?
JM: Not at this stage.
GB: O.K. hereís the notice I told you about explaining what will happen to the tape.† It is now 12.51 pm.† I shall switch the machine off.