Earline Brundage, R.I.P.

In Vol. XIII, Art. 12 (October 26, 2007), we wrote “… because officials have been allowed free reign in their day-to-day operations within the ‘goods-movement’ industry, to say that their actions with respect to port operations were irresponsible would be putting it mildly. The consequences of their efforts have already been made public and we’ve referred to them on a number of occasions.”

One of the references we made in the past was to the 2006 study in Southern California that revealed that an estimated 2,400 Californians die prematurely every year from illnesses linked to pollution emitted by trucks, trains, ships and cargo-handling equipment used to move goods into and out of the state’s ports. In addition to those deaths, the study cited 2,380 hospital admissions, 360,000 missed workdays and 1,100 missed school days … all directly attributed to primitive and threatening cargo handling methods.

On February 22nd of this year another human being died “prematurely” – because of primitive cargo handling operations. In Newark, NJ, The Star-Ledger published this story on February 24th:

“NEWARK – Earline Brundage was working as a ‘hold man’ on the Newark waterfront, according to a co-worker who saw the accident that killed her.

“Brundage’s job, the longshoreman said, was to remove the metal ‘shoes’ from bus-sized shipping containers while a crane unloaded them at Berth 51 of the Port Newark Container Terminal. The quart-sized shoes, which lock containers together while they’re stacked aboard ships crossing the ocean, are removed once the containers are unloaded.

“Just after 7 p.m. Wednesday, as a container dangled waist-high so Brundage could remove its shoes, the co-worker and authorities said Thursday, something went wrong. The container swung wildly, catching the 47-year-old woman in its path and pinning her against another shipping container lying nearby on the dock …

“At that point, Brundage was alive but unresponsive. ‘It was a nightmare,’ the longshoreman said.

“The Lopatcong resident was taken to University Hospital in Newark and pronounced dead at 8:43 p.m., said a spokesman for the Port Authority police.” –

One more preventable death due to irresponsible port operations. The patented systems we’ve been describing in these commentaries to port and maritime officials – and to politicians as well – eliminate those “metal shoes” and those “shipping containers lying nearby on the dock.” Earline Brundage would be alive and well today if our patented shipboard and dockside systems had replaced the primitive cargo-handling systems stubbornly embraced by the entrenched elite.

But heck, what’s one more death – compared to the profit generated within the industry by the purchase and sale of conventional (and outmoded) cargo-handling equipment?