Current status
No resolution


On 20 March 2019, two non-profits – the Samsung Heavy Industries Martin Linge Project Crane Accident Workers Support Team (Worker Support Team) and Korean Transnational Corporations Watch (KTNC Watch) – filed complaints against SAMSUNG Heavy Industries (SHI), TOTAL, TECHNIP, and EQUINOR at the Korean, French, and Norwegian National Contact Points.

On 1 May 2017, during construction of a Martin Linge oil platform at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea, a Goliath crane and Jib tower crane collided. According to the official report by the Ministry of Employment and Labor, the accident killed six workers and injured 25 others. Moreover, 300 workers witnessed the accident, but have not received treatment for the trauma they have suffered. According to the complainants, an investigation agency found that just before the accident, Samsung HI had adopted an unusual and dangerous work method without first undertaking a risk assessment. The complainants assert that the lack of safety measures and inappropriate assignment of work constituted violations of the Korean Occupational Safety and Health Act and breaches of the General Policies, Disclosure, and Human Rights chapters of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The complainants assert that TECHNIP, leader of the project consortium and recipient of the construction contract, directly supervised the engineering procedures and failed to advise or order appropriate safety management measures, even though the change of construction method was unusual and dangerous. They argue that TOTAL, which operated the project at the time of the incident, did not ensure proper safety assessments were undertaken, while Equinor, the current operator, declined to disclose the investigation report undertaken by the project group after the accident, which might reveal more information about the accident’s cause.

The complainants are seeking mediation by the NCPs to help determine the breaches of the Guidelines that have occurred and to assist in their remediation.

Relevant OECD Guidelines


The handling of the complaint was divided into two processes. The Korean NCP addressed the issues in the complaint related to the Korean company, Samsung HI. The Norwegian NCP acted as the lead NCP for handling the issues related to the remaining companies, all of which are headquartered in Europe.

On 3 February 2020, a pre-mediation meeting was held, after which the Europe-based companies accepted the NCP’s invitation to participate in mediation. Samsung HI initially agreed to participate as an observer (in December 2021 it declined an invitation to participate as an active party in the mediation).

On 13 May 2020, the Norwegian NCP published its initial assessment accepting the case for further consideration, in collaboration with the French and UK NCPs. All parties accepted mediation.

In March 2021 the mediation started, and was terminated in August 2022. A total of 11 plenary meetings were held with the parties, including the pre-mediation meeting in February 2021. This mediation resulted in no agreement. The NCP stated: “Despite serious efforts from both sides, the distance between the parties proved unbridgeable and no agreement was reached.”

On 22 February 2023, the Norwegian NCP released its final statement. The NCP found that the companies involved in the complaints handled by the Norwegian NCP did not cause or contribute to the accident, but were directly linked by their business relationship with Samsung HI. Samsung HI was the central actor and caused the accident, as the owner of the shipyard and builder of the platform module.

The NCP made several recommendations to the European companies, including that they meaningfully engage with workers (described by the NCP as “a central stakeholder at shipyards, and in the oil and gas sector in general”) in the due diligence process, use their individual or collective leverage or influence with Samsung HI to implement the Korean NCP’s recommendations on remedy for the victims of the accident, and share parts of the investigation report with the complainants in line with OECD Guidelines.

Interestingly, the NCP also opined on the nature and progress of the mediation, which took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCP commented on the strengths and weaknesses or virtual and-in-person mediation. In the NCP’s opinion, “physical mediation concentrated over a limited number of days with full focus on the case would have been favourable. This is also the opinion of the mediators. It is the NCP’s experience that the parties having the opportunity to communicate directly and in person greatly benefits the mediation process. Physical mediation does not guarantee an agreement, but it increases the prospect of doing so.”

The NCP also described the handling of the complaints, all dealing with the same issues, by two NCP as “not beneficial for the mediation process”: “The NCP respects the choice and the consideration of the Korean NCP that two processes, with Korean and European actors respectively, seemed best at the time and commend the Korean NCP’s efforts to bring Samsung HI to the table at a later stage. Unfortunately, Samsung HI was unwilling to participate in a joint process. The fact that the main actor, the builder and owner of the shipyard where the accident happened, was not at the table together with the other companies precluded substantial discussions on key issues. Samsung HI could have provided essential information about the reasons for the accident and the different companies’ relationship to the accident. Samsung HI’s participation would also have provided a better basis for discussions on remedy for the victims and the improvement of health and safety in the Korean shipbuilding industry. The specific instance provides lessons learned for the companies, but also for the NCPs with regard to coordination of complaints involving several companies and NCPs.”

A follow-up is planned to take place one year after the publication of the final statement.

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