Mid November 2020 BigLift received a call from a Brazilian Terminal Operator, who asked for assistance. They informed us that one of their ship unloaders, at their bauxite terminal in Vila do Condo, had suffered a rupture in the upper chord of the boom and that bending and cracks were observed in the two lower chords. At that point, the crane arm and chute were resting on top of a pile of Bauxite inside the hold of a bulk carrier, while the counter weight of 350 mt was 33 metres up in the air on the opposite site of the pier.
All this was moving vertically with the tide coming in and going out, making the situation extremely unsafe and deteriorating steadily. The forces released if the crane arm would break were difficult to calculate.
After assessing the situation, we came to the conclusion that our heavy lift vessels Happy Sky and Parkgracht could provide the assistance that was needed to stabilize and recover the situation. Within short, the decision was made to mobilize both vessels from North/Central USA. Meanwhile, we started developing a salvage plan.
On the pier side, the counterweights needed supporting. Due to her excellent lifting height, mv Happy Sky was positioned at the side of the counter weight, which were then “landed” in a specially made frame on top of a stable table, high up in Happy Sky’s cranes, where they rested until further notice.
At the same time mv Parkgracht moored alongside the bulk carrier and connected to the chute leaning inside the bulk carrier. These moves stabilized the situation, whereupon the Salvors could start dismantling the crane.
The counterweight slabs needed to be removed first. As they were welded together, a team of rope access workers on a cherry picker first had to separate the slabs, whereafter a shore crane could lift the pieces off one by one. Once the counterweight had been dismantled, a diamond cutter wire was used to separate the crane arm from the chute, and mv Parkgracht loaded the freed scrap into her hold awaiting further instructions.
When all was said and done, mv Happy Sky had set a record for performing a non-stop tandem lift for more than 600 hours by keeping the counterweight high to compensate for the tide.
Due to our flexibility, state of the art equipment and personnel we managed to bring back a safe environment on the terminal in Vila do Conde. Not to forget a very happy client.