Industry pulls together in dhow tragedy wake

Atkins and Murray & Roberts dispatch executives to offer support and take charge of WTC

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By  Tim Wood Published  April 8, 2006

Dubai-based staff of Murray & Roberts and Atkins flew to Bahrain this week to offer support to the relatives of the victims of last weekend’s dhow tragedy, which claimed the lives of 58 people. Senior executives from Murray & Roberts are expected to remain in Bahrain until this weekend following the loss of seven of the company’s staff in the disaster. The seven men, who were all working on the US $150 million Bahrain World Trade Center contract, perished after the boat, the Al Dana, which had been hired to celebrate the completion of the concrete works of the project, capsized. Six staff from Atkins were also killed when the vessel took a sharp turn in the water a kilometre off the Bahraini shore. Murray & Roberts, which is the main contractor in a 50/50 joint venture with Nass Contracting Co. of Bahrain, said it had already prepared a new project leadership team. Murray & Roberts chief executive Brian Bruce, told Construction Week: “We mobilised an experienced project director, construction manager — finishes and commercial manager from operations elsewhere in the Middle East to take leadership of the project in the short to medium term. “Nass and various subcontractors are likewise mobilising new resources to replace those lost in the tragedy,” he said. Atkins, architect and engineer on the Bahrain World Trade Center, also lost three engineers, a project manager, a construction supervisor and an architect, but said it had no plans to draught in any more staff. It currently has 1,200 people working on 40 building design projects across the Middle East region. “We have no issues regarding resourcing any of these projects,” confirmed a spokesman. Atkins’ CEO Keith Clarke, who was among an unspecified number of senior staff members in Bahrain to console families, said he wanted to pay tribute to the way the construction world had bonded together following the tragedy. “The nature of our business means that the victims have worked closely with and are known by many across the world,” he said. “It has been a humbling experience to receive so many heart-felt messages of support and understanding from across the industry, and this has been a great comfort to us all.” Murray & Roberts, Atkins and Nass are all confident that the project will be completed as scheduled, by the third or fourth quarter of the year. Although the project site was reopened on Monday, no work was allowed. And although work started in limited areas on Tuesday, as CW went to press, production on the site still wasn’t running at full capacity.

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