Fatal Explosion Forces Temporary Shutdown at Hanwha Ocean’s Okpo Shipyard

A Tragic Incident Prompts Rigorous Investigation and Safety Measures in South Korean Shipbuilding Sector


Hanwha Ocean has temporarily halted operations at its Okpo Shipyard on Geoje Island following a tragic incident that occurred on Friday. Reports from local media indicate that a 28-year-old employee of a subcontractor associated with the South Korean shipbuilder lost his life in an explosion on January 12.

The unfortunate incident unfolded at a ship rudder fabrication plant around 15:00 hrs local time. Despite the swift response to the emergency, the exact cause of the explosion remains unconfirmed at this stage.

In response to the incident, the shipyard, formerly recognized as Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), issued a formal statement through a stock exchange filing. The statement outlined the suspension of production activities and emphasized the commitment to resuming work only after a comprehensive accident investigation is conducted. The investigation aims to determine the root cause of the explosion and develop effective countermeasures to prevent such incidents in the future.

It is noteworthy that major Korean shipbuilders, including Hanwha Ocean, have frequently engaged subcontractors and temporary workers to optimize costs and enhance labor flexibility. However, this approach has historically resulted in limited accountability for shipbuilders in the face of workplace accidents. The incident highlights the industry’s ongoing challenge to balance cost efficiency with a commitment to workplace safety.


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