Unions blast creditors over Sunday’s four deaths at STX

A pair of trade unions in South Korea have laid the blame for the deaths of four subcontractors at STX Offshore & Shipbuilding on Sunday on the yard’s creditors, claiming they are responsible for “murder”.

The workers were killed at STX Offshore & Shipbuilding’s main yard in Jinhae when an explosion ripped through a tank that they were inside spray painting onboard a nearly completed product tanker.

The Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU) and the Confederation of Shipbuilding Unions stated at a press conference yesterday: “The STX accident is a murder committed by creditors including the court and Korea Development Bank, who have prioritised payback over workers’ safety and lives.” The unions claim safety standards were pared back at the yard as it fought its way through a “brutal” restructuring.

The unions maintain the number of people working for STX’s Health, Safety, Environment (HSE) team has been slashed by 45%.

For STX, the accident is a severe blow. It has only just exited court rehabilitation and kick started marketing for new orders after a very difficult six years where it came close to extinction.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Similar accident happened in May 2005 on M.T. High Endurance when painting and welding works were underway simultaneously.
    Maybe the old safety staff has been taken off for redundancy purpose, leading to this repetition.

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