Visakhapatnam crane mishap: Design, manufacturing defect found to be cause of collapse

Sources said the committee found that the crane had no proven track record, and its design earlier failed at the Mumbai port.

Published: 13th August 2020 07:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th August 2020 07:23 AM   |  A+A-

The crane which collapsed at the Vizag shipyard

The crane which collapsed at the Vizag shipyard

Express News Service

VISAKHAPATNAM: Manufacturing and design defects in a crane supplied by the company Anupama had caused it to collapse at Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) here on August 1, killing 10 people, including four HSL employees, the expert committee that probed the incident has stated in its report.

The committee, comprising Andhra University professors from the departments of ECE, mechanical, civil and mechanical engineering, and an R&B engineer, led by the Visakhapatnam urban RDO has submitted its report to District Collector V Vinay Chand. The accident occurred between building dock and spillway berth.

Sources said the committee found that the crane had no proven track record, and its design earlier failed at the Mumbai port. Anupama, which emerged as L1 bidder, was given the contract for the 70 tonne level lifting crane in May 2009.

It was then asked to operationalise the crane by 2010. But the company installed it only in 2017, and entrusted another agency with the erection and assembling of the crane.

Later, Anupama, which was to operationalise the crane, backed out from the project without operationalising it.

The HSL management decided to operationalise it in 2020, and gave the task to Greenfield agency. The HSL had paid 10 per cent of the project cost of Rs 50 lakh, which was due to Anupama, to Greenfiled to commission the crane.

The HSL personnel did not have any experience of installing and operationalising new cranes. The last time the HSL procured a crane was in 1986.

There are 30 cranes at HSL, and the organisation hasn’t witnessed any such untoward incident so far. At the time of the mishap, 10 people – instead of the usual two – were in the cabin of the ill-fated crane.

Four HSL staff and two outsourced employees were among those in the cabin to learn how the crane functions, as they were to maintain it.

The staff in the cabin were seen recording procedures during the trial run. According to the committee, trial operations began from June 1, and the handling capacity was tested by increasing the load step by step.

Though the crane had a capacity of 70 tonne, it handled 125 per cent of the load, i.e around 90 tonne, during the trial run.

However, only 70 tonne was placed during the final trial on August 1, and the crane carried it for 30 metres before it collapsed. It had a new design with a combination of jib and column structures.

The company did not provide a design manual for the crane, the panel found, and added that four bearings, including central bearings, were damaged, triggering the collapse.

The committee conducted an in-depth study for nine days and collected data from the HSL employees and other institutions acros India. 


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