The malfunctioning crane hook causing the crane accident with DEME’s new offshore installation vessel Orion 1 was designed by Ropeblock based in the Netherlands. In a statement, Ropeblock has said the failure occurred at approximately 2600 tonnes, well below the crane’s capacity.

The accident occurred on Saturday 2 May at around 3.30 pm in the Port of Rostock, Germany. The accident happened in the final test phase, shortly before delivery of Liebherr-MCCtec crane HLC295000. The crane was to lift a pontoon weighing 5500 tonnes, 500 tonnes more than the crane’s advertised safe maximum lift capability of 5000 tonnes. This is a standard procedure to test the crane’s maximum lifting capacity.

Liebherr announced on 6 May that the crane hook caused the failure, but did not name the supplier. Ropeblock, however, has issued a statement on its website saying it was responsible for the crane hook’s design. The company says ‘the 5000-tonne crane hook failed for reasons as yet unknown. Based on current knowledge, experts believe that this caused the crane to swing back and eventually collapse.’ This happened at about 2600 tonnes, well before the crane’s lifting capacity was reached.

The crane hook manufacturer says they are ‘deeply moved by these events. First of all, our hearts go out to the wounded and all others involved in the accident. We greatly appreciate the emergency services’ swift and adequate response. At the same time, we are appalled at the impact that this incident has on our customer Liebherr, but certainly also on the industry as a whole.’

Verified design

Ropeblock provided the design of the crane’s lifting blocks, including the crane hook. Manufacture of this crane hook was then purchased from a certified supplier who is said to be familiar with parts of similar and larger sizes. Prior to manufacture, the design has been verified by the authorised Notified Body.

The limited current information seems to confirm that the hook’s stem broke, but the exact course of events and cause are as yet unknown. These are part of an integrated investigation, which will also zoom in on the hook’s manufacture.

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Pictures by Rostock Port GmbH.