Port and terminal operators have been urged to examine the safety levels of the cranes used on container quays across the world.
Property, equipment and liability insurance provider TT Club, the Port Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA) and ICHCA International, have jointly published an updated version of the ‘Recommended Minimum Safety Features for Quay Container Cranes’ document.
The publication was originally published in 2011 and the new document has drawn on the TT Club’s claims experience.
The insurer said the research has drawn together a formidable group of operational and engineering experience from around the globe to recommend solutions to common safety issues.
The publication calls for a new approach to the crane procurement process in order to recognise safety as an integral part of operational decisions that will minimise exposure to injury, damage and disruption costs over the life cycle of the equipment.
“The intention of the ‘Recommendations’ is to urge suppliers to include as standard, not optional, the baseline safety features on this list in all their quotations for container quay cranes,” said the TT Club. “Terminals and buyers are also recommended to incorporate such requirements in their tender specifications. In many instances the safety features identified can be retrofitted to existing equipment. This publication aims to contribute to protecting the substantial asset investment and minimising costs and injuries associated with any type of accident.”
The recommended minimum safety features are designed to directly address the causes of accidents and failures identified by TT Club from its claims records. Some of these include:
- Damage caused by high winds
TT Club’s publication ‘WindStorm II – Practical risk management guidance for marine & inland terminals’, emphasises that design features play an important part in minimising exposure. Non-technical people would be surprised at the ‘sail effect’ inherent in the ‘Meccano-like’ structures. There are innumerable instances of cranes being blown along the rails, colliding with neighbouring cranes, or being dislodged from the rails, often leading to structural collapse. While extreme conditions cannot be entirely avoided, the recommended baseline requirements include details for driven braking system and anemometer design and operational controls with an appropriate shutdown function. Further losses can be prevented through the installation of storm pins on both waterside and landside, as well as crane tie-downs on each corner of the crane – with appropriately positioned and engineered anchor points in the terminal apron.
- Damage caused by collision
Accident statistics clearly demonstrate that collisions are a surprisingly recurrent problem. Most commonly, it is the boom of the crane that impacts a ship’s superstructure, resulting in substantial repair costs and consequent downtime. TT Club has for a number of years recommended the installation of radar or laser electronic sensors. This proven technology, integrated appropriately into the operational systems, allows the crane to come to a ‘normal’ stop prior to impact.
- Risk of fire
The incidence of fires in quay gantry cranes is low, certainly compared with mobile terminal equipment. However, the position of control machinery high up on the crane structure presents a considerable challenge to most port fire response services. Thus, it is important to install temperature and smoke detection systems and provide alarms for all relevant operational staff. Fully automatic fire suppression is also recommended.