Emergency demolition of a STS Crane – APMT Barcelona

O’Brien’s was approached by APM Terminals following a major incident where an STS Crane was knocked over by a ferry during extreme weather.

The scope of works included:

  • Making the accident site safe
  • Removal of the main boom from a container stack without causing further damage
  • The controlled collapse of the remaining 25-metre structure
  • The rescue of over $1m worth of specialist cargo trapped under the crane
  • Cutting up and removal of the crane for site

O’Brien’s was selected to carry out the works based on our unrivalled knowledge and experience in the crane disposal industry, alongside our fleet of in house specialist equipment. This allows us to carry out works as safely and as quickly as possible.

Immediately after the accident, APMT contacted O’Brien’s and we sent a team of specialists to Barcelona. Within days our team had a plan ready to be put into action. This involved shipping specialist equipment from the UK to assist the removal of the damaged crane in the safest way possible. Once the green light was given, O’Brien’s was on site with all equipment and manpower to carry out the works.

One of the biggest challenges came from the insurers of the damaged containers. The area where the crane had collapsed was a storage area for shipping containers. There were some 50 containers damaged underneath the crane structure, 4 of which had cargo valued in excess of $1,000,000. The insurers insisted the crane was removed without causing any further damage to this cargo.

Our solution was to remove the main boom in small sections which could be lifted off the containers using a 50 ton upgraded excavator and shear attachment. This allowed the sections to be removed from a distance to ensure total safety throughout. The next stage was to carry out a controlled collapse of the remaining 25-metre high portal structure. The crane was cut in strategic locations and pulled away from the cargo to be saved. All cargo and containers were safely removed without further damage from the incident site.

It was imperative to control and minimise the environmental impact during the project, many of the oils and lubricants used within the crane were still in situ. Due to unsafe condition of the crane structure it was not a viable option to drain and remove the contaminants prior to the demolition. During the accident a number of 20ft Chemical ISO tanks containing oils and solvents were damaged. All spillages were contained immediately following the incident as part of the initial response however a considerable quantity of residue was left to deal with during the dismantling operation. O’Brien’s put in place a number of environmental control measures to ensure there was no risk of contamination to the nearby waterway, these were continuously monitored and reviewed throughout the works.

For the duration of the project safety was the top priority, followed by efficiency. It was of the utmost importance to carry out the works as quickly as possible to allow the port to reach full operating capacity reducing disruption to a minimum, To make this happen our onsite teams worked around the clock 24 hours a day to clear the incident site.

Within six days of works commencing, the crane had been cut into sections and transported to a different area within the port. This meant APMT was free to use the incident area for container operations. In total, the project was completed in 18 working days thanks to the hard work and dedication of the O’Brien Specialist Crane Services team.


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