Safe working with harbour cranes

by American Harbor And Docking Pilots Association - published on 7 November 2019

photo and article by American Harbor and Docking Pilots

For more safety when working with cranes in port

To minimize the risk of a vessel allision with a terminal gantry crane, the American Harbor and Docking Pilots Association recommends that all terminal operators with gantry cranes adopt the following Best Practices:
1) Prior to a vessel’s arrival or departure from a berth, gantry cranes should be positioned close together, near the amidships section of the vessel (avoiding the vessel’s bow and stern flair).
2) Idle gantry crane booms should be topped up over empty berths. If a boom cannot be topped up, tug dispatchers and pilots should be notified.
3) Gantry cranes should not be moved while a vessel is berthing. Moving a crane could put it into an unsafe position, and also disorients and distracts the docking pilot.
4) No personnel should be allowed aloft on a gantry crane during berthing or unberthing operations.

Risks that may occur during loading and unloading of the ship

Anytime a ship is maneuvered near a berth with gantry cranes, a risk of allision exists. If a ship contacts a dock at any attitude other than flat and parallel, portions of the vessel can extend over the dock. Should a gantry crane happen to be in the overshadow area, an allision resulting in significant loss is likely. The best way to manage and minimize this risk is to leave gantry cranes in identified “safe areas” on the craneways. These safe areas will vary from terminal to terminal, but will most often be the craneway areas adjacent to the ship’s flatbody between the spring line bollards.

Gantry cranes boomed down over empty berths risk contact with berthing or passing ships. Modern container vessels are generally too tall to pass safely underneath a lowered gantry boom. Also, new generation gantry booms extend more than 200 feet beyond the dock face, which in many cases is well into the federal navigation channel. In certain cases when a large vessel must pass very close to another on the berth, it may be necessary for cranes to stop work and boom up to permit safe passage.
Idle gantry crane booms should be topped up over empty berths. If operations require a boom down over an empty berth, the tug dispatchers and pilots should be notified of the likely duration and subsequent notification should be made when the boom is raised.

Gantry crane booms should not be moved down the craneway while a ship is berthing. First, any crane movement causes a loss of situational awareness regarding the ship’s motion relative to the berth. Second, the crane’s audible motion alarms interfere with pilot/tugboat communications. Either could cause the pilot to momentarily lose control of the vessel during the critical part of the mooring. If cranes must be moved to clear bollards for the linemen or for any other reason, they should not be moved during vessel approach until after the ship is resting against the dock fenders.

Personnel should not go aloft on a gantry crane during mooring operations Additionally, whenever personnel are aloft on gantry cranes that are boomed down over an empty berth, they must appreciate and evaluate the risks posed by passing vessels.

Copyright © 2018 American Harbor and Docking Pilots, All rights reserved

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