"Fundamental" safety changes have been made after a man fell eight metres onto concrete in Tauranga, a shipping company says.

The Singapore-based China Navigation Company was fined $24,000 and was ordered to pay reparations of $30,000 after a 28-year-old stevedore - who loads and unloads ships - fell from one of the company's ships in December 2017.

A handrail broke on the log carrier, Pakhoi, and the man fell onto a concrete wharf.

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He shattered bones in his legs and arms, fractured vertebrae and suffered severe internal injuries in the fall. The handrail had broken in India and been poorly repaired, but no one on the ship's crew told the stevedoring company.


The company was charged by Maritime NZ for dangerous activity and earlier pleaded guilty in the Tauranga District Court.

Tauranga District Court. Photo / File
Tauranga District Court. Photo / File

This week, the deep-sea shipping company which is part of the Swire Group, released a statement saying it had made "fundamental changes to its onboard vessel maintenance and safety procedures" since the stevedore was injured.

The company said it carried out "a thorough investigation into its onboard vessel maintenance and safety procedures ... and stresses that safety onboard all our ships and ashore is the number one priority in all our operations".

It accepted it was "negligent in maintenance onboard the vessel".

"We deeply regret what happened and we accepted full responsibility in the court hearing. We have apologised to the injured stevedore and have assisted him and his family since the incident."

The company said it had since removed the railings from all vessels "so the option to exit our vessels in this way is no longer possible".

"This message and entry/exit procedure has been reinforced to all our staff and crews working onboard our ships."

Maritime NZ also charged the injured man's employer, Mount Maunganui stevedoring company, ISO Limited, under the Health and Safety at Work Act.


Maritime NZ said the action against ISO had been resolved, with Maritime NZ agreeing to an enforceable undertaking with ISO to make significant investments into programmes aimed at improving health and safety for stevedores.

ISO had also supported the stevedore and his family, Maritime NZ said. ISO last week declined to comment.