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Published: 1 August 2012      

Crane runaway in Charleston

Four STS cranes have been damaged at the Port of Charleston’s Wando Welch terminal following a microburst

Four cranes were damaged at the Port of Charleston’s Wando Welch terminal on 28 July when a superpost-Panamax crane was struck by a microburst and blown into three smaller cranes in tie-down positions at the end of the dock.

In a statement the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) said: “Around 6:20 pm on Saturday, an unexpected microburst of about 70 mph at the Wando Welch Terminal dock blew one superpost-Panamax crane southward on the dock, where it struck the first of our three least active cranes (post-Panamax in size) at the south end.

“The three cranes on the south end were not being utilized for the day’s vessel operations and were pinned to the dock. All four cranes have sustained some damage and are confined to the southern end, obstructing a portion of berth one. All port authority policies and procedures were followed.

“The four cranes are all out of service pending survey from Shaw GBB. SCSPA estimates it will take take between one and three months to get the cranes operational again, leaving Wando Welch with seven cranes operational.

“We will make adjustments as needed, just as we have in the past when relocating cranes or installing or load-testing new cranes at the dock.” A total of 74 containers were also damaged by high winds (19 loaded and 55 empty).

The runaway crane was not tied down at the time of the incident, when Charleston County was under a severe thunderstorm warning. Fortunately the incident occurred between vessel operations at a time when no operators were in the cranes, and there were no injuries. "For that we are extremely grateful,” the SCSPA added.

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