Giant crane uplifts sunken cranes

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Giant floating crane Hebo Lift 9 completed the recovery of the heavyweight mobile cranes, which fell into the port basin on January 31, 2020, at the international port of Rostock, Germany.

Seven weeks ago, two heavyweight mobile cranes fell into the harbor basin during an accident in Rostock, Germany. Now the two cranes are finally recovered. The giant and powerful floating crane Hebo Lift 9, arriving from Rotterdam, took care of the risky salvage and lifted the LHM 550 harbor mobile cranes made by Liebherr out of the water.

What happened during the accident?

As reported, the two cranes fell into the water during an accident on January 31 in the port of Rostock. According to Rostock port master Ralf Zacher, they had already been loaded onto the heavy lift vessel Jumbo Vision when the accident happened. While one of the cranes worth several millions of euros was to be positioned more precisely on the deck, the ship was tilted. The crane fell into the water. The heel of the ship became so strong that the second crane slipped off the deck and fell into the water. The vessel Jumbo Vision reportedly sustained damages. Two persons engaged in loading operation were slightly injured.

Hebo Lift 9: A giant among the floating cranes

With a lifting capacity of 800 tons and a height of 67 meters, the Hebo Lift 9 floating crane is one of the most powerful of its kind. It is 76 m long, 27 m wide and has a draft of 4.5 m. This floating crane owned by Hebo Maritiemservice based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, is strong enough to lift the two 440-tonne mobile harbor cranes from the ground. On Wednesday of last week, the crane was to leave the port of Rotterdam and head for Rostock. The colossal crane started its journey on February 26 and arrived at the international port of Rostock on March 5 – later than planned due to poor weather conditions.

On March 7, the first of the giant cranes was lifted out of the water according to the schedule. The recovery of the second crane was more complicated, nevertheless finalized on late March 9.

Why was the uplift risky?

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The recovery of the Liebherr LHM 550 mobile harbor cranes, worth several millions of euros, was not an easy venture. After all, the colossuses each weigh around 440 tons and have a radius of up to 54 meters. For comparison: each of the two sunken cranes weighs as much as three Airbus A300 aircraft.

Besides, the salvage had to take place under challenging conditions: Both cranes sunk at a depth of 11 meters, and the water in the dock is very murky.

What needed to be done before the recovery?

An important task had to be done before lifting the giant cranes: Floating crane Baltic Lift helped to salvage the two lattice masts, each about 50 meters long and 35 tons massive. The floating crane has a maximum lifting force of 200 tons. The oil barrier was moved, and special areas on the quay at berth 25 were prepared to park the giant mobile cranes after salvaging them from the depths of the harbor basin.

Hebo Lift 9 at the port of Hamburg, photograph by FleetMon shipspotter Lotse1967