CLP Group

Only issue before tribunal was invoice payment

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 September, 1996, 12:00am

I refer to the report headlined, 'Tribunal rules against CLP in row over diver' (South China Morning Post, September 7).

In this report, you gave the impression that China Light and Power (CLP) had ignored concerns for the diver's safety and, indeed, had put his life at risk. This is not correct. I would like to explain why.

The tribunal heard evidence over three days of hearings.

During the course of this contract both parties proceeded on the basis that the water depth at the worksite was within 15.2 metres (50 feet) - in which case the recommended maximum dive time is 100 minutes.

World-Wide Diving Contractor's claim against CLP was made on the basis that the appropriate dive time limit was 60 minutes, which was incorrect. It was only at the hearing that World-Wide's expert witness contended, for the first time, that the water depth at the worksite could have exceeded 15.2 m. CLP's consultant engineer disagreed with this view.

In his judgment the Adjudicator decided that it was not possible to determine the exact depth of the worksite with absolute certainty, but that it could have exceeded 15.2 m, if only by a matter of a few inches. Since CLP placed an express emphasis on safety in the performance of this contract, the Adjudicator thought that it was reasonable to require CLP to pay for the extra precaution that was taken.

At no time did CLP refuse to allow the second diver to replace his colleague or to require the first diver to remain longer in the water than he wished. Whenever a request was made by World-Wide to send in a second diver, this was approved on the spot. The only issue before the tribunal was the payment of an additional invoice rendered by World-Wide.

Your report gave a rather different slant on this matter. As with the story on August 23, headlined, 'Residents urge power lines action', we were not given an opportunity to comment, which would have helped give a more balanced account. In the event I think that we have suffered an unwarranted blemish on our safety reputation.

SANDRA MAK Public Affairs Manager China Light and Power Company Limited