The Socialist

The Socialist 8 March 2017

We can save our NHS!

The Socialist issue 939

Demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won


Fight the cuts: Demand no-cuts council budgets

One million workers on zero-hour contracts

Tories to dodge rulings against disability benefit cut

MPs take 1k raise

Aristocrats to hold byelection for one of their 92 reps

TUSC supports Irish MPs' call on Corbyn


Struggling to care against a backcloth of cuts

1987 Zeebrugge disaster

The Socialist inbox


Historic demonstration in Barcelona in support of refugees

Support the Jobstown defendants: Defend the right to public protest

Build a movement to defeat Trump!


Second front in battle over driver-only operation opens on Northern Rail

Leaked document threatens jobs and conditions at Ford Bridgend

Bus drivers' strike: Huge anger at bosses' attacks

Deliveroo cedes ground in Brighton dispute

Striking for jobs and union recognition at Fujitsu

EHRC workers walk out

Workplace news in brief


Millions protest - now join the Socialist Party to fight to change the world

Why I joined: "I am a Labour Party member and I recently decided to join the Socialist Party"

Why I joined: "In those 16 pages of the Socialist I found more sense and integrity than in the mainstream media"

Why I joined: "I began to feel really exploited and to think about why"

Why I joined: "I hope that more and more people are going to join the Socialist Party and the fight to end inequality"


'Anti-union law' charges against trees protesters dropped

Sheffielders call for a no-cuts 'people's budget'

Hands off our Jobcentre!

Greater Manchester: patients are people not guinea pigs!

Bradford: Anti-cuts lobby against poor-bashing budget

Mary Creagh should resign not remain

 
 
 
 
 

PO Box 1398, Enfield EN1 9GT

020 8988 8777

editors@socialistparty.org.uk

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/939/24855

Seach this siteSearch the site

Printable versionPrintable version

Facebook

Twitter

Home   |   The Socialist 8 March 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

1987 Zeebrugge disaster: a consequence of corporate greed

Bosses' profit-driven corner cutting lead to 193 deaths on the 'Herald of Free Enterprise' in 1987, photo by AirSafetyGuy (Creative Commons)

Bosses' profit-driven corner cutting lead to 193 deaths on the 'Herald of Free Enterprise' in 1987, photo by AirSafetyGuy (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Simon Carter

Thirty years ago, 193 passengers and crew drowned off the coast of Belgium after P&O's Herald of Free Enterprise car ferry capsized. One of the dead was seafarer and Militant (forerunner of the Socialist) supporter Geoff Haney.

Years before, Geoff had risked his job to protect three Chilean Socialist Party stowaways, fleeing the brutal dictatorship of General Pinochet, who were caught on board the ship and locked in the hold. Geoff had been politically motivated by events in Chile and his union, the National Union of Seamen, had organised an international boycott against the dictatorship.

In a fitting tribute to Geoff, his sister Sue donated his victim compensation award to finance an office for members of the Committee for a Workers' International (to which the Socialist Party is affiliated) working underground in Chile.

Profit

The Zeebrugge tragedy was no accident. It was a disaster waiting to happen, based on systemic failures by a company driven to maximise profit. In that sense 'Herald of Free Enterprise' was an apt name.

A year earlier Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher had awarded a knighthood to P&O chairman Jeffrey Sterling for "public service and services to industry".

The Herald was supposed to be a state of the art 'roll-on, roll-off' ferry - but critics described the shallow draft vessel as 'roll-on, roll-over'.

In order to ensure the turnaround time was kept to a minimum the ferry steamed out of Zeebrugge port on the fateful night with its bow and stern doors open. Something the owners had been previously warned of, but ignored.

Sea water poured onto the car deck causing the ferry to capsize into the freezing waters in less than two minutes. If it hadn't sunk onto a sandbank it would've turned turtle with a greater loss of life.

Incredibly, the captain had no view from the bridge of the bow doors, nor was there even a bell on the bridge to indicate that the bow doors were closed.

As could be expected several hapless crew members were later blamed for the tragedy, although several others were named for their outstanding heroism. And, as usual, a charge of corporate manslaughter against the company was dismissed by a judge, despite an inquiry identifying 'corporate negligence at every level of the company's hierarchy'.

Months after the Zeebrugge disaster P&O ferries were still leaving port with open doors and crew training reportedly remained poor.

In 1988 P&O attempted to sack all 2,300 of its ferry workers in Dover over the seafarers' refusal to allow cuts in the workforce which would impact on passenger safety. Free enterprise indeed.


In this issue


Save our NHS!

Demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fight the cuts: Demand no-cuts council budgets

One million workers on zero-hour contracts

Tories to dodge rulings against disability benefit cut

MPs take 1k raise

Aristocrats to hold byelection for one of their 92 reps

TUSC supports Irish MPs' call on Corbyn


Comments and reviews

Struggling to care against a backcloth of cuts

1987 Zeebrugge disaster

The Socialist inbox


International socialist news and analysis

Historic demonstration in Barcelona in support of refugees

Support the Jobstown defendants: Defend the right to public protest

Build a movement to defeat Trump!


Socialist Party workplace news

Second front in battle over driver-only operation opens on Northern Rail

Leaked document threatens jobs and conditions at Ford Bridgend

Bus drivers' strike: Huge anger at bosses' attacks

Deliveroo cedes ground in Brighton dispute

Striking for jobs and union recognition at Fujitsu

EHRC workers walk out

Workplace news in brief


Join the Socialist Party!

Millions protest - now join the Socialist Party to fight to change the world

Why I joined: "I am a Labour Party member and I recently decided to join the Socialist Party"

Why I joined: "In those 16 pages of the Socialist I found more sense and integrity than in the mainstream media"

Why I joined: "I began to feel really exploited and to think about why"

Why I joined: "I hope that more and more people are going to join the Socialist Party and the fight to end inequality"


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

'Anti-union law' charges against trees protesters dropped

Sheffielders call for a no-cuts 'people's budget'

Hands off our Jobcentre!

Greater Manchester: patients are people not guinea pigs!

Bradford: Anti-cuts lobby against poor-bashing budget

Mary Creagh should resign not remain


 

Home   |   The Socialist 8 March 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:

Ferries:

triangleFerry workers protest against 2.45 an hour pay

triangleRMT members to strike at CalMac ferries

triangleCondor Ferries: Fight for a living wage

triangleStriking seafarers make gains

triangleRMT supports ferry crew strike in St Malo

Socialist:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The role of the Socialist paper and social media

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: China today and the coronavirus

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Domestic violence and women's oppression - How to end?

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: How can climate change be stopped?

The Socialist:

triangleBuilding the Socialist Party

triangleHelp us continue to fight for workers and socialism

triangleLike what we say, help us keep saying it - fund the Socialist

Socialist Party:

triangleNottingham Socialist Party: After the Labour leadership result - Do we need a new workers' party?

triangleWest London Socialist Party: Globalisation/deglobalisation and the world economy

Chile:

triangleNew pamphlet: constituent assemblies and the revolutionary programme

Profit:

triangleNHS supply chain worker: privatisation has cut equipment quantity and quality

Finance:

triangleCongress 2020 appeal: Donate to help us renew vital resources

Dover:

triangleConvoy to Calais: Outrageous blocking of aid for refugees

Pinochet:

triangleNae Pasaran: a film about working-class solidarity

Belgium:

triangleBelgium: Movement against climate change grows

Margaret Thatcher:

triangleCouldn't pay, wouldn't pay, didn't pay: the battle to defeat the poll tax

Seafarers:

triangleLiverpool RMT seafarers protest against super-exploitation

Militant:

triangleSocialism 2019: Major rally to plan how to get Corbyn elected with socialist policies