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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, April 23, 2018

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Binladin Group projects to be reviewed after crane crash

Company meets safety standards

Share on Facebook September 18, 2015, Reporter : BigNewsNet, Reader : 563

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RIYADH - The Saudi Arabian government will review the Saudi Binladin Group's (SBG) ongoing projects in the wake of last week's Makkah crane disaster to ensure the company meets safety standards, a senior Saudi official said on Thursday.

The Saudi kingdom on Tuesday announced that SBG had been suspended from taking any new contracts, and that its existing projects would be reviewed by the Finance Ministry. It had also said that the board members and senior executives of SBG would be banned from travel.

An initial government investigation into last Friday's incident, when a crane crashed into Makkah's Grand Mosque during a duststorm killing 111 people, found that Saudi Arabia's largest contractor had not secured the crane in accordance with its instruction manual.

Reuters quoted a senior Saudi source as saying that the royal court's ruling does not affect current projects SBG is involved in and the review was to ensure all its projects adhered to safety rules and regulations. The government is to continue payments to SBG for its current works.

The Saudi Bin Laden group is one of the region's largest construction firms with contracts across the country.

Initial investigations by Saudi authorities suggested a "balance issue" in the crane and bad weather contributed to the tragedy that left over 300 injured at Islam's holiest site ahead of the start of the Hajj.

A royal court announcement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said the king was reviewing the report of the Accident Investigation Committee, which suggested negligence on the part of the Saudi Binladin Group, but concluded that it found an "absence of criminal suspicion."

The report said "the main reason for the accident is the strong winds while the crane was in a wrong position."

The accident occurred when the 60-feet giant crane being used in the expansion project at the Grand Mosque toppled and crashed into a portion of the mataf (circumambulation area) around the holy Kaaba on Sept. 11.

Pending completion of the investigation, all members of the Board of Directors of Binladin Group, as well as Bakr bin Mohammed bin Ladin and senior executives in the group and others connected with the project are banned from leaving the kingdom, said the royal court order.

SBG has traditionally been the government's favoured contractor for particularly large or sensitive projects, and has carried out most work on Islam's holiest sites in Mecca and Medina to accommodate more pilgrims for decades.

The King ordered that the families of each person killed in the incident be compensated with 1 million Saudi riyals ($270,000). Those who suffered serious injuries as a result of the crane collapse will each receive the same amount, while all others injured will each receive 500,000 riyals ($130,000) in compensation.> BNN

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