Spain Begins Investigation into Death of Sailor on Balearia Ferry

Balearia ferry
The crewmember was discovered unconscious when the Napoles arrived in Algeciras on Monday (Balearia file photo)

Published Feb 8, 2024 4:39 PM by The Maritime Executive


Spanish authorities confirmed that they are looking into the circumstances behind the death of a sailor working aboard Baleària Shipping Company’s ferry Napoles discovered earlier this week. The union requested the investigation while it is also calling for improvements in the occupational risk prevention policies.

The shipping company Baleària issued a brief statement on Tuesday confirming that a 40-year-old sailor working aboard the ferry had been pronounced dead on Monday night, February 5, shortly after the vessel docked in Algeciras. The company expressed its deep regret and condolences saying that it was offering support to the family. The shipping company said it was also activating its internal procedures and risk prevention protocols while also investigating the incident.

“The sailor was found unconscious and not breathing in the garage upon arrival at the port of Algeciras,” the company said in its statement. “The captain of the ship, immediately, and the Algeciras health workers later, performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation protocols, unfortunately without success.”

One news report suggests that the unidentified Spanish crewmember was found between two vehicles. The unconfirmed report said that one of the vehicles might have sifted trapping the crewmember between the two vehicles. They are reporting that offloading of the ferry when it reached Algeciras, was delayed by an investigation.

The Napoles was built in 2002 and rebuilt in 2018-2019 to become one of the first RoRos operated by Baleària using liquified natural gas is registered in Cyprus. The vessel, which is 610 feet (186 meters) in length, has a capacity for up to approximately 480 vehicles. It also carries up to 1,600 passengers operating between Tangier and Algeciras.

The Workers' Commissions (Comisiones Obreras or CCOO) agreed to the investigation and collection of data for the union, which will use it to file a formal complaint. Media reports said this was the second fatal accident in the region in 2024 after four workplace fatalities in 2023 in Algeciras.

The regional secretary of Occupational Health of CCOO, José Gavilán, speaking about the overall situation in 2023 called the deaths “unacceptable” in a media briefing. He said the region had recorded a total of 3,500 workplace accidents in 2023.

“Five deaths and an average of around ten accidents a day represent a devastating situation in the workplace,” Gavilán is quoted as saying during the briefing. He vowed that his agency would take steps to improve workplace safety.