Evidence of Piotr Kasprzak, seaman

P You are currently serving as an able seaman?

PK Yes.

P On the Cambrook?

PK No.

P Were you serving on the Cambrook on 24 th April 1998?

PK Yes.

P You got your AB certificate in 1993?

PK Yes.

P You were at sea for 30 years before 1998?

PK No I was working in port on cranes.

P When did you start working at sea?

PK I can't remember exactly. 1987 or 1988.

P You joined the Cambrook in December 1997?

PK Yes I think so.

P You were on watch as the Cambrook came into Shoreham on 24 th April 1998?

PK Yes.

P You then helped to secure the mooring line?

PK Yes.

P Did you open the hatch covers?

PK Yes.

P Once they were opened, what did you do?

PK Taking the hatch covers off took a long time. Then I was ordered by the captain to help with unloading.

P What were you told to do?

PK Show the crane operator how to get down to the load. Signal how to lower the grabbing mechanism down into the hold.

P Where did you go at first?

PK The port side of the ship.

P Photo 8 shows the port side of the Cambrook, were you somewhere on that photo.

PK Yes.

P Was the port side opposite to the quay?

PK Yes.

P Look at tab 3 photos 8 and 11. Were you stood in the part shown in photo 8 or photo 11?

PK Photo 8.

P Do you remember seeing loose aggregate and bags of stones?

PK Yes.

P Were you stood over the aggregate or over the bags?

PK Over the bags of stones.

P On tab 4 photo 8 can you mark exactly where you were standing? May we have this as exhibit 64? Was there anyone else to help with the unloading?

PK Yes.

P Was that Mr Bigosinski?

PK Yes, he went to the quay.

P Would you normally expect to be helping in the discharge of the cargo?

PK Yes on the captain's orders.

P Did you see anyone in the hold?

PK Yes there were two men already unloading the cargo.

P How familiar were you with the signals that you had to use?

PK In the past I was trained as a crane operator. I was competent to use hand signals.

P Had you worked as a crane operator in the previous 10 years?

PK I had worked as a crane operator for 20 years.

P What about the 10 years before April 1998?

PK No.

P Had you had to use signals on the Cambrook before?

PK No.

P Did you do your best to give clear accurate signals?

PK Yes.

P With an open clam shell grab, when you looked down could you see what went on under the grab?

PK Yes if was open.

P Where would you look?

PK I would lean over the side the boat.

P Refer to photo. You see the arm of the excavator extending on your side of the hold. Did you notice how low the chains and hooks were going in relation to the bags?

PK Yes one person on the starboard side was telling me how low to go.

P Does a circular motion with the right hand mean go down?

PK Yes.

P Does a flat open hand moving across mean stop?

PK Yes.

P Did you see Sean Currey giving these signals?

PK Yes.

P Did you realise that there were any problems?

PK No.

P Did you understand all the signals?

PK Yes.

P When the two men were attaching hooks to the bags did you watch them?

PK No. I was there but I was not looking down all the time.

P Did you feel any need to watch them?

PK No.

P Did it seem to you to be a normal operation?

PK Yes.

P Did you see the grab close?

PK No.

P What did you see first?

PK I saw a man running up on the slag (aggregate) shouting and signalling to open the grab.

P Did the crane operator act when you first signalled to him?

PK No. He didn't look; he was turned away, I don't remember which side.

P What did you do?

PK I ran round so he could see me, but he'd already reacted and opened the grab.

P Had you been to Shoreham before?

PK Yes.

P Had you seen this excavator unloading before?

PK Yes.

P Was the grab always attached to the excavator arm?

PK It was quite normal for loose aggregate but it was not used with hooks.

P What was the normal set up for hooks?

PK There should have been no grab; just hooks instead.

P Had you seen a different hook used with this excavator?

PK No it was always the grab.

P With the grab and the hooks and the chains on the opposite side of the hold from you could you see what was under the grab?

PK If it was open yes.

P By looking down from directly above the grab?

PK Yes, but when it was open I could see through the gap in the hinges. I could see the slings and what level to lower them to.

P Was it being lowered to the right level on this particular morning?

PK Yes.

P But sometimes you weren't looking?

PK That's right; as soon as the grab was at the right level I wasn't looking all the time.

 

D You were a crane operator for twenty years?

PK Yes.

D You were familiar with signalling?

PK Yes. I was trained in Poland .

D From time to time were you asked to help with unloading?

PK Yes, sporadically, quite rarely but only on the captain's orders.

D On this particular day were you asked to act as a banksman?

PK Yes.

D Were you competent to do so?

PK Yes.

D Was it normal to be asked to help in this way?

PK Yes I knew how.

D Was it an entirely normal operation?

PK Yes.

D The signals are universal?

PK Yes.

D - You could understand the signals given to you?

PK Yes.

D Did the crane operator appear to understand your signals?

PK Yes.

D Looking down into the hold you couldn't see the distance between the ends of the hooks and the bags?

PK When the hooks were resting on the bags I gave the signal to stop.

D You didn't wait for the stevedores to give you a signal?

PK No I could see how low the slings needed to be.

D If the stevedores needed you to lift they would signal?

PK Yes.

D But sometimes the crane operator was looking the other way?

PK Yes.

D Shouldn't he always be looking at the job?

PK Yes.

D Should he keep his arms in the air clear of the controls?

PK I don't know these particular controls. On other cranes there is a position zero where the crane is stationary.

D You don't want to move the joystick accidentally?

PK I don't know the controls on this excavator.

D What about on the cranes that you have used?

PK You must be careful not to catch the controls with your arm or your leg.

D Could the operator get up and walk about the cab?

PK No. It's impossible; you must sit and control everything.

D Every crane operator would know that?

PK Yes especially with people working under the grab. It was not usual practice to have the grab, the chains and the hooks together.