Liberia: AML Train Accident in Bong

.... Several tonnes of ore wasted

One of ArcelorMittal Liberia's locomotives, marked 1505, on April 12, had an accident in Bong County about 170 kilometers from the Port of Buchanan.

The cause of this latest incident is yet to be established, but reports reaching the Daily Observer said the locomotive was en route to Buchanan from Mount Tokadeh, carrying 45 wagons loaded with iron ore.

But, while approaching kilometer 170, the operator noticed that there was an emergency and he made a stop to ascertain what was happening, only to realize that 25 of the wagons had been derailed.

There was no injury reported, but there was damage done to the track, while the entire accident site remained deserted with some of the ore scattered.

There were a series of ArcelorMittal locomotive accidents reported last year, two of which were reportedly bloody.

In May last year, two locomotives collided, severely injuring the two operators as well as passengers.

The last and bloodiest of all was in January 2022, killing two maintenance crew, injuring several, leaving the management to fly those injured out of the country for treatment.

The death of the two maintenance crew exposed discrepancies among the workers and ordinary people, blaming the management for failing to put safety mechanisms in place.

Some of the workers put the cause of some of these accidents to lack of good communication. They said at some points the operators used mobile phones to communicate, unlike during the days of LAMCO where there was a control system that regulated the movement of locomotives.

In this recent incident, the management is yet to explain the cause of the derailment, despite several calls to the ArcelorMittal communications director for clarity.

Since the Brazilian firm rehabilitated the rail between 2006-2010, the rail is yet to be fully rehabilitated. Many former workers believe that most of the wood and some of the iron on the track have depreciated.

Efforts by the Daily Observer to get police opinion on the continued rail accidents remain futile, as the local police traffic detachment in Sanniquellie remained mute on the outcome of their investigation, especially in the deadliest accident earlier this year.