Sailor killed by tug propeller

| 18/10/2010

(CNS): After mounting speculation this weekend over a serious accident in George Town Harbour that CNS was unable to confirm via the port or Thompson Shipping, police have now stated that a man was killed in an industrial accident on Saturday. A 59-year-old Cuban sailor aboard a tug boat was fatally injured after he dived into the water to untangle ropes then on returning to the boat was struck by the propeller of the tug. His crew mates dived into the water to bring him to the surface and found that he had sustained serious lacerations to his neck and body. The accident occurred on 16 October when the sailor was working on a tug boat which was tied to a Port Authority buoy, police stated. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

The man was transported to the Cayman Islands Hospital, George Town, but was found to be dead on arrival. A joint investigation involving the RCIPS CID and Marine Unit has been launched but officials said there would appear to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

Police stated that the accident happened shortly after the crew received clearance to come ashore to unload. When they tried to release the boat from the mooring they realised that the rope was tangled. The sailor dived into the water to release it. It appears that on his way back to the boat he disappeared underwater and was struck by the propeller of the tug boat.
A police spokesperson confirmed that the post mortem examination is expected to take place this afternoon.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    My sincere condolences go out to the family

  2. Anonymous says:


    My condolences to the family of the poor soul lost. May God help them through this extremely difficult time in their lives and may they find the peace and help they need to get through this tragedy.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is to be hoped that someone familiar with the proper procedures and methods of operating a vessel in these circumstances (ie Master Mariner) is put in charge of the investigation so a sensible conclusion is reached as this is too serious an incident to put into the hands of a Sunday boater. Maybe the Ships Registry needs to be asked for help in locating the right person.

    • Anonymouse says:

      You can bet there will be all kinds of experts working on this investigation. That wont help the poor victim or his family unfortunately, because some of these experts may very well be the ones who should have been policing this before the accident happened.

      But then again, it was a saturday afternoon and everyone responsible may have been off duty.

    • Cuban says:

      im cuban, i knew this kind man!! he was the only support of his family back home ! he was working hard to keep his mind busy ,because he lost one of his sons in a car accident about a year ago! one day about 2 month ago we spoke at the airport here in cayman where he was trying to send 50dollars over there for one member of his poor family with cancer!! My lord i know u r gonna help this family!! we used to call him GRILLO. (cricket)   

  4. Anonymous says:

    Several years ago I got the opportunity to go to the "bridge" of a cruiseship where they have a special locking mechanism on their trottle’s, once it known that divers are overboard carrying out inspections. This locking mechanism is "neon orange or red" in colour indicating danger below. It can only be removed after a set of strict procedures have been closely checked and re-checked by the master or the chief mate of the vessel.

    In my opinion, this same type of device or something similar should have been in place on this type of vessel, especially knowing that a diver is overboard working. 

    As a boat captain I have seen a few close calls out at Stingray City with tourist’s who swim to close to vessel’s while they are in motion. I’m very afraid that something similar will happen out there one day especially when there are anywhere from 600-800 tourists splashing about at the Sandbar, enjoying themselves with a few alcoholic beverages clouding their preception.


  5. Animaliberator says:

    Once again too late to save the life of another human, however, this was simply human error as far as we know today, the solution to this and not only to protect humans but marine mammals as well is to cage the propellors. This is already law in certain US states to prevent propellors killing whatever comes near them but was initiated to save surface dwelling animals such as manatees, whales etc. etc.

    The rear of the cage is fitted with heavy duty mesh to prevent being sucked in towards the propellor or hit an animal when too close to them but open enough not to restrict water flow.

    Cost of this action has been an important factor for many, hence one of the reasons why this law is not widespread as yet but it all depends on how we place the cost of the lives lost if we do not, regardless of species in all fairness.

    My sincere sympathies to the family and friends of this lost soul.

    • A Concerned Young Caymanian Father says:

      My sincerest condolences go out to the families of those lost in these tragic and avoidable incidents.


  6. Anonymous says:

    My brother was killed 13 years ago yesterday in a similar accident.  He was working on the propellor of a ferry boat when someone switched it on.  

    A truly dreadful accident and there really ought to be some sort of fail safe to prevent this type of thing happening again.

    My thoughts go out to this man’s family and friends. 

  7. Jason B says:

    This is a very sad accident that was waiting to happen!! The Captain(s) of the Tugboats in Georgetown  may be experienced at getting from A-B but, that actual common sense tells you, that when a crew member/diver is in the water that the engine MUST be in neutral, at best not on at all . I say this through experience as it actually happened to me once on the Brac I just lived to see my family again. The company I worked for was WIM not Thompson shipping. I hope XXXXX the company involved will look after the man’s family.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a terrible, heartbreaking accident. And before you go laying blame, maybe you should get the facts straight. You were not there, you don’t know the full story. Please let the police do their job and I am sure that the company will compensate this poor man’s family. It’s very sad that he came here to make a living for himself and his family, only to end up losing his life. But we do not know the circumstances surrounding this tragic accident so please stop. Because the way you are saying things is alot different from how I have heard the story, so just please STOP!

      • Anon says:

        You’re basing your comments on hear say. You weren’t there so you don’t know for a fact what happened either.

        • Anonymous says:

          And neither was Jason B. So my point is! Show a little respect in times like these and do not throw out your assumptions on a situation when you were NOT there and don’t know for a fact what happened!! I was not there either, but my information comes literally from the horses mouth! But as you say, it’s still hear say and that is true. But I still stick to what I said. Just SHUT UP with the assumptions of what happened! You, me nor this Jason B were there to know exactly what happened! My sincere condolences go out to the family. It’s a very tragic ordeal indeed.

          • Anonymous says:

            Sickening. And I am sure the person in charge of the throttle with a diver down below is sick sick sick outof his mind since then. My heart goes out to him, the crew and the family.

            So horrifying. Just a GD horrifying shame.


            • Anonymous says:

              If a diver is down clearing ropes, WHY would anyone turn-on the engine ????  before the diver was up on top of the boat ????

    • Anonymous says:

      The very first commentary is in absolute poor taste under these tragic circumstances.

      The investigation and autopsy has not yet been completed and the first commentor has allot to say before the facts and circumstances are fully known. Show some compassion and sympathy for all those involved in this truly tragic accident. SHAME on you for this posting.

      My sincere condolences to the family, crew and all co-workers in the company.