Liebherr cranes fall off Jumbo ship while loading in Rostock

Part of Rostock Port has been closed after two mobile harbour cranes fell off the heavy-lift vessel Jumbo Vision during loading operations. Because there are fluids leaking from the cranes, port basin B has been temporarily closed and secured with oil barriers to prevent further pollution.

The incident occurred on Friday, January 31st around 21.00 while Dutch shipping company Jumbo Maritime was loading mobile harbour cranes at Liebherr’s manufacturing facility in the port.  Eyewitnesses told local media that one of the harbour cranes on deck was tipped over by one of the shipboard cranes of the 6,993 dwt heavy-lift vessel. This caused the vessel to list after which the second crane on deck lost stability as well.

In a comment to PCJ, Jumbo Maritime says the cause for the accident is still under investigation. “During loading, the cranes rolled off the deck subsequently into the water due to reasons yet unknown and currently under investigation“, a spokesperson says.

Two workers sustained minor injuries were treated by paramedics on site, the shipping company confirms.

The Rostock port authority took swift action by laying out oil barriers. Specialists from Baltic divers were called in to skim a “relatively small amount of leaked pollutants” from the port’s waters. The port authority and water police estimate that around 100 litres of oil have leaked from the crane, the majority of which could be sucked off by the oil-defence vessel “Flunder”.

During a dive, the exact location of the cranes was explored and the ventilation ports on the hydraulic oil and diesel tanks were sealed to prevent further pollution. In total, the cranes carry around 7,600 litres of hydraulic oil and 3,000 litres of diesel fuel.

Salvage

Salvage preparations are in full swing. The oil tanks of the cranes will soon be emptied. Meanwhile, a survey vessel has made 3D-scans of the area to document the damage to the cranes and identify reliable lifting points to remove the cranes from the port basin which is about 11 metres deep. The cranes reportedly weigh about 440 tonnes each.

In the coming days, all necessary measures will be summarized and coordinated in a detailed salvage concept, Rostock Port states. “As the port operator we are working in close cooperation with the authorities to find a solution for the early resumption of port operations in port basin B”, says the port’s managing director Gernot Tesch.

Liebherr was not available to comment on the incident.

Author: Tobias Pieffers

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