A 27-year-old seafarer has lost his right leg after catching his foot in ropes while his ship docked at Port Hedland harbour on Saturday.
Mohankumar Mahesh Kumar, and Indian national, was working as an able bodied seaman on the ship Julia N when his foot became entangled in ropes attached to a tug boat.
Mr Kumar has spent the past seven months at sea on the ship, leaving on the voyage just a month after marrying in his home country.
The sole breadwinner in his family, he now fears he will be returned to India without a leg, leaving him and his new wife to face an uncertain future.
Seafarers Centre operations manager Alan Mower said at this stage it appeared to be nothing more than a tragic accident, but investigations were underway.
“The seafarer got his foot caught in a mooring line while the ship was being tied up, the causes of what actually happened are still being investigated,” he said.
“As a result of the injury he had to have his leg amputated up to the knee because his foot was not recovered.
“The man is from a middle-class Indian family and is the sole breadwinner.”
Seafarers Centre associate chaplain Garry South had been at the South Hedland Health Campus, where Mr Kumar was airlifted to after the incident.
“His condition is good – I’m not so sure about his emotional side because he’s so worried about his future,” he said.
“It looks like they’ll send him home sooner rather than later… as soon as the doctors say he’s fit to travel… I don’t think he’s happy with that; he indicated that he would like to have a leg before he went home.”
A spokeswoman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said AMSA was investigating the incident.
The company the operates the tug boats in the harbour, Teekay Shipping, issued a press release saying it was co-operating fully with the AMSA investigation and extended its sympathies to Mr Kumar.