Countryman & McDaniel -  The Logistics - Customs Broker Attorneys

"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"


"Coal Face"

(Corrected - Jan. 2005)

The Cargo Was Danger

On The Scene In Australia

Feature Date: July, 2004

Event Dates: November 2003

Countryman & McDaniel

 The Air & Ocean Logistics- Customs Broker Attorneys

"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"

On The Scene -- in Australia !

 A 2004 Countryman & McDaniel

Cargo Nightmare Prize Contender

Go Directly To The Feature

Index To Our General Services

Contact Countryman & McDaniel

Legal Services of The Firm

Our Staff Attorneys & Law Firm Profile

The Cargo Law Network - Correspondent Lawyers In The U.S. & Most Major Trading Nations

Library & Search Engine of The Cargo Letter

Search Engine For This Internet Portal - Find Everything You Need

Transport Reference Desk - Virtual Transport Library

24 Hour Int'l Vessel Casualties & Pirates Database

The Photo Gallery of Cargo Loss - Photos & Lessons Learned

Transport Law Navigator - all air, ocean, motor & customs laws

Library & Search Engine of The Cargo Letter

Mega Portal of Trade & Transport References And Services

General Reference Desk - virtual public library

Terms & Conditions Required For Use of This Web Site

TRANS CAMS © - over 600 Transport Cams, 40 Satellites, Streaming Video, Transport Sounds, Short Wave Radio & Air Traffic Control! CLICK HERE

Search Our Portal To Int'l Trade & Transport Site Features,

Use The Search Engine Here:

   Search The Cargo Law Site or The Entire World Wide Web        powered by FreeFind

  Site Search Web Search

Other Great Disasters of our Time

"Ship-To-Shore-Onto Ship" - Nov. 2007

"Scheldt Snafu!" - M/V Grande Nigeria - Feb. 2006 because Ship Happens©

"A Day At The Beach" - M/V APL Panama - Jan. 2006

"Curse of The Pequot" - M/V Maersk Holyhead - Jan. 2006

"NO Rails" - destruction of New Orleans - Dec. 2005

"Backhaul !" - for July 2005

"The Boeing Tri-Motor" - for April 2005

"Catch of The Day" - for March 2005

"One Brick Short of A Runway" - for Jan. 2005

M/T Vicuna Explodes - for Jan. 2005

"Unstacked" - overboard & Dr. Beach - Nov. 2004

"Sea (to) Land Express" - May 2004

"On A Wing & A Prayer" - Jan. 2004

"Stepping In It" - Dec. 2003

"Angel Fire" - Nov. 2003

"Broken Spirit" - M/V Tasman Spirit - Aug. 2003

"Denise & Polargo" - a love story - July 2003

"Columbia River Round Up" - June 2003

"Keel Hualed" - M/V Hual Europe - May 2003

"Thrice Bitten" -- M/V Tricolor - Jan. 2003

"Ramp-Age" - Feb. 2003

"Piñata" - breaking the box - Jan. 2003

"Halifax Hash"--M/V Maersk Carolina - Jan. 2003


"Singles Only" -- Our One Photo Disasters

"Thar She Blows!" - M/V Hanjin Pennsylvania - Nov. 2002

"T-E-U Bar-Be-Cue" - aftermath of the Pennsylvania

"Container Pool" - a mystery - May 2002

"Strangers On My Flight" -- by Frank Sinatra - don't blame us - we only report this stuff!

"Dropping In On The Trucker" - it happened again - April 2002

"UNDER Achiever" - tell your friends ! - March 2002

 Tell It To The U.S. Marines! - A Symbol of Our Day of Infamy - Sept. 11

Heavy Metal - lifting the un-liftable object - Disaster at Monrovia July 2001

Rail Mate -- an Egyptian rail loss - Tragedy At Ain Sokhna July 2001

Meals: Ready To Explode - Navy container barbecue at Guam! June 2001

America West Kisses Concrete M/V Ville De Orion - stack shift at LAX

U.S. Navy EP- 3 -- China Hostage Situation - Spring 2001

Attack On USS Cole (DDG-67) - - Dramatic Photos!

M/V OOCL America - Feb. 2000

M/V APL China - world's greatest container disaster - Nov. 1998

M/V New Carissa - the ship that would not die - 1999

M/V Tampa Maersk "on a dock diet"

Hanjin's Bad Stab - Under The Dock At Pusan, Korea - Exclusive Photo!

The Cargo Letter Photo Gallery of Transport Loss


"Coal Face"

On The Scene In Australia

Slide & Fire

The Cargo Was Danger

November 2003

A Cargo Nightmare Prize Contender

The Time: Various

The Date: November 2003

Incident #1 The Coal Slide

The Place: Blair Athol Coal Mine at Clermont, New South Wales, Australia.

The Time: Morning Shift At The Coal Face -- Blair Athol Coal Mine.

The Relevance: Some Transportation Is Measured In Yards.

We Posted This Feature In 2004 -- But We Made A Mistake --

The 2005 Correction: This IS NOT Blair Athol Coal Mine at Clermont, New South Wales, Australia.
This is Freeport's Grasberg Mine in Irian Jaya (Indonesia)

But the true facts are startling -- 2 days notice, but no action to protect the mine workers!

Thanks to our reader Tony Lavan --
-- we know --The Cargo Letter goofed. See the end of this section! This loss was in Indonesia !
This Is Where Two Tragedies Began

Transportation Equipment Prepares For the Day - The Coal Face Is Deep

A First Incident Begins.

A 170 Ton Capacity Rear Dump Truck Flees The Effect of Some Oncoming Miscalculation.

The Coal Face Has Begun To Fall

Here It is Cargo That Is Moving Transport Equipment!

Man Bites Dog.

There Is No Escape From This Mountain of Coal

Incident #1 Correction: While our loss details are correct -- the location is not -- and there is much more:

Our reader Tony Lavan writes
"Incident #1 IS NOT at the Blair Athol Coal Mine &endash; it is the collapse of the pit wall at Freeport's Grasberg Mine (copper & gold) in Irian Jaya (Indonesian part of New Guinea)." Here is the news of the loss in Indonesia in 2003 -- the company had 2 days notice, but no action taken to protect the mine workers:
Melbourne Herald Newspaper --Nov. 1 2003 >>
"Operators of the world's richest goldmine had more than 2 days' warning that a landslide was imminent before it arrived in a torrent of 2.5 million tons of rock & mud that killed 8 workers.

The managers at the Freeport-McMoRan Co. had wrongly calculated that the slide would be slow enough & small enough to stop on a 90-meter wide step cut into the wall above the workers they left at the bottom of the pit.

Although heavy rain had fallen for 5 days, the managers did not realize how much water was trapped in the slope and that the debris would pour over the step onto the workers.

Three weeks later, four bodies remain buried at the bottom of the pit, more than 4000 meters up in the mountains of Papua, just a few kilometers from the only glaciers in South-East Asia.

Four bodies have been pulled out and 5 people are recovering from injuries, including Muhammad Samsuri, who is in a Townsville hospital bed after losing both legs.

In Aug. & Sept. the rate of movement began to increase from about 4 millimeters a day up to 8mm, and then 10mm before moving back down, says an investigator, Witoro Soelarno, of the Indonesian Dept. of Energy & Mineral Resources.

The Grasberg mine's operating procedures say that movement of more than 10mm a day means "possible pit slope failure". In early Oct, the slope continued to pick up speed and by Oct. 5 parts of it were moving at 20mm and 30mm a day, Mr Witoro said.

On Oct. 7, two days before the slide, Freeport moved its stationary mining equipment on the 90-meter step out of the zone where it expected the slide to hit.

But below the step, it was work as normal for the drivers of the 240-ton trucks and the bulldozers, and mechanics like Muhammad Samsuri -- until the slide."

From Our Reader -- Tony Lavan, Lavan Disaster Management, Roseville, N.S.W., 2069, Australia

Freeport's Grasberg Mine (copper & gold)

Freeport - McMoRan Co.

Iran Jaya - Indonesia

The Cargo Letter>> While this feature was correct & true, except for the location -- this is a major error on our part that the loss took place in Indonesia, not Australia. . Each day we review many photos submitted by you readers -- all of which are checked by us before posting. There is a lot junk out there. We failed here, but the Good News is that our readership would be so vast as to point out the true location -- along with so many new & important details. McD

Incident #2 Coal Face Fire!

The Place: Blair Athol Coal Mine at Clermont, New South Wales, Australia.

The Date: About 14 Jan. 2004

The Time: Morning Shift At The Coal Face -- Blair Athol Coal Mine.

The Relevance: Some Transportation Is Measured In Yards.

Dynamite Is Used To Loosen The Coal For Collection By Powerful Electric Shovels.

-- But Heat From The Explosion & An Exposed Coal Seam Can Sometimes Be A Bad Combination.

Fire Erupts From The Coal Face!

What Do You Do With A Burning Coal Face?

What's The Answer?

The Answer: You Ship It !!!

Transport That Danger Away In A 170 Ton Capacity Rear Dump Truck! Geeez, Talk About HAZMAT.

Perhaps 2 or 3 runs will be required to move all the flaming cargo from the Coal Face

-- sprayed with water in the safe area -- the coal seam & mine will now be safe.

Danger Was The Cargo.


Blair Athol Mines

Rio Tinto Coal Australia: formerly Pacific Coal, is one of Australia's leading mining organizations with a highly successful record in the development & management of world-class open cut & underground coal operations. In Queensland, RTCA operates the Blair Athol, Tarong, Hail Creek and Kestrel mines. In New South Wales, RTCA manages Coal & Allied's operations at Bengalla, Mt Thorley/Warkworth and Hunter Valley mines.

Fatal Accidents In The Coal Pit

Bucket Load Breaks High Pressure Natural Gas Line

Fatal Jump

"Fatalgram" photo

It's The Pits

Dealing With Fire In Open Cast Coal Mines (a recent reprt from India)

DGMS(Tech)(S&T)Circular No. 3 of 2001 Dhanbad, India -- dated the 20th June, 2001.

To : All Owner, Agent & Managers of Coal Mines.

Subject: Dealing of fire in open cast coal mines.

In the recent past, in one opencast coal mine while a 20m bucket capacity shovel was excavating burning coal from the bottom of a coal bench, 15m in height and two persons were in the process of fighting the coal fire with water jet standing 10m away from the face on the floor of the bench, burning coal slid from top of the bench engulfing the fire fighters in hot coal, ash and stem. One person could escape with burn injuries but one other person unfortunately received 60% burns and succumbed to his injuries later.

In another case, while a shovel was deployed at the bottom of a coal bench on fire in a quarry, fall of side occurred forming thick cloud of hot dust. A shovel operator and a overman got trapped and received serious burn injuries to which the shovel operation succumbed later.

Other similar cases have also come to the notice of this Directorate where no persons were involved. In all these cases it could be observed that the system established for fire fighting was directing water jets on the fire standing away from the face on the bottom of the b4nch. Some of the shortcomings of such systems were,

1. the distance at which the fire fighters were positioned from the face was less than the height of the bench/face or the persons dealing such fires were positioned at an unsafe distance from the burning coal face;

2. no personal protective equipment like protective clothing for dealing fire were provided to the persons employed for fire fighting;

3. there was no established system, i.e. code-of-practice was not framed to deal with such; situations;

In all these cases, the system itself was fraught with danger and circumstances were created at the work place where the accidents were waiting to occur.

In this context, attention is also drawn to regulation 119(2)(b) of CMR 1957 which requires adequate precautions to be taken to prevent danger to persons from flame, steam and ejected or rolling down hot material, explosion of water gas, etc. among other things.

Considering that establishment of a good system of fire fighting in opencast coal mines could and may save valuable life of workers, all coal mines with opencast workings where danger of fire exists should frame a comprehensive plan for fighting fire in the workings. Such mines should also frame site specific code-of-practice for fire fighting under different circumstances in the mine. The code-of-practice may include interalia the following,

a. the process of dealing different types of fires under different circumstances at the mine in a manner which is safe,

b. responsibility of all concerned persons starting from the workers at grass root levels to supervisors, managers and higher management levels at the mine and of the company,

c. outline of the training needs of various concerned persons,

d. details of appropriate personal protective equipment for fire fighting.

I am sure that appropriate steps taken as detailed above would go a long way in preventing accidents from dealing fire in opencast coal mines.

Chief Inspector of Mines.

Indian School of Mines

Entries After Correction To Indonesia For Loss #1:

Freeport's Grasberg Mine (copper & gold)

Freeport - McMoRan Co.

Iran Jaya - Indonesia

SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker.  It's dangerous out there.

Thanks To Our Contributor For The "Coal Face" Feature

Our Contributor for this feature is:
* An Anonymous Contributor - close to the coal operation - who wishes to be anonymous

NOTE: Please Provide Us With Your Additional Information For This Loss.

EDITOR'S NOTE FOR SURVEYORS, ATTORNEYS & MARINE ADJUSTERS: The Internet edition effort of The Cargo Letter now celebrates it's 8th Year of Service -- making us quite senior in this segment of the industry. We once estimated container underway losses at about 1,500 per year. Lloyd's put that figure at about 10,000 earlier this year. Quite obviously, the reporting mechanism for these massive losses is not supported by the lines. News of these events is not posted to the maritime community. Our new project is to call upon you -- those handling the claims -- to let us know of each container loss at sea-- in confidentiality. Many of you survey on behalf of cargo interests with no need for confidentiality. Others work for the lines & need to be protected. As a respected Int'l publication, The Cargo Letter enjoys full press privileges & cannot be forced to disclose our sources of information. No successful attempt has ever been made. If a personal notation for your report is desired -- each contributor will be given a "hot link" to your company Website in each & every report. Please take moment & report your "overside" containers to us. If you do not wish attribution, your entry will be "anonymous." This will will benefit our industry -- for obvious reasons! McD

* NOTE: The Cargo Letter wants you to know that by keeping the identity of our contributors 100% Confidential, you are able to view our continuing series of "Cargo Disasters." Our friends send us materials which benefit the industry. The materials are provided to our news publication with complete and enforceable confidentiality for the sender. In turn, we provide these materials to you.  

The Manifest

| Cargo law Main Page | The Freight Detective | Law Navigator | Claims Calculator |

| The Freight Detective General Investigations | The Freight Detective Transport Investigations |

| The Logistics Chain | Photo Gallery of Cargo Loss | Our Staff |

| Trans-Cams | Forwarder/Broker Industry Chat & Issue Discussion Board |

| Library & Search Engine of The Cargo Letter | Bookstore |


 Back To Main Page


The Law Offices of Countryman & McDaniel

Eleventh Floor LAX Airport Center

5933 West Century Boulevard

Los Angeles, California, 90045

(310) 342-6500 Voice

(310) 342-6505 Fax


to The Law Offices of Countryman & McDaniel


to The Cargo Letter