Sailor killed in tugboat accident

Police
are investigating a tugboat accident on Saturday morning in which a Thompson
Shipping worker was killed after diving in the water to untangle a rope from a
mooring buoy.

The
man, identified by his employer as Ramon Grillo Alvarez, 59, was struck by the
tugboat’s propeller, police said. He was dead on arrival at the Cayman Islands
Hospital.

Police
said the sailor had dived into the water to untangle a rope from a Port Authority
buoy in the George Town Harbour around 9.45am.

“When
the crew received clearance to come ashore to unload, they tried to release the
boat from the mooring. At this time they realised that the rope was tangled.
The sailor dived into the water to release it.

“On
his way back to the boat, it appears that he disappeared under water and was
struck by the propeller of the tugboat. His crew mates dived into the water to
bring him to the surface and found that he had sustained serious lacerations to
his neck and body,” a statement by police read.

Alan
Wilson of Thompson Shipping said the accident happened at Point of Sand where
the tugboat, which had arrived from Cayman Brac, was mooring at the number two
buoy. “The rope was wound around the buoy. They were carrying out the manoeuvre
when the accident occurred,” Mr. Wilson said.

Mr.
Alvarez, who was from Cuba, had been working for Thompson Shipping for about
three months.

Mr.
Wilson said the sea conditions on Saturday were “not bad, but not excellent”.

The
Royal Cayman Islands Police Service CID and the Marine Unit have launched a
joint investigation into the accident.

Police
said there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.