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Shipyard crane while sank in the Baltic Sea. There is a cause report

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On the high seas – between Ustka and Łeba – in August last year, a shipyard crane towed on a pontoon by the tugboat Odys sank. The State Commission for the Investigation of Marine Accidents has published a report on this incident. It was recalled that the three sailors of the tugboat Odys were under the influence of alcohol.

PKBWM published an 85-page report from maritime accident that took place on August 24, 2022 in the Baltic Sea. The report shows that the Odys tugboat with a TRD Voyager pontoon attached to it, on which a shipyard crane weighing 255 tons and 46.8 m high, was sailing from Gdynia to Szczecin. During the cruise, between Ustka and Łeba, a crane fell from the pontoon deck into the sea.

In the report, the Committee pointed to deficiencies in the effective securing of the load of the crane for sea transport, which were committed at the stage of designing, securing and preparing the pontoon together with the load of the shipyard crane for towing.

“Calculations made by an expert in the field of securing non-standard cargo in sea transport showed that the cargo securing elements of the shipyard crane did not fully secure it and did not guarantee safe transport. They created the possibility of its falling into the sea” – stated in the final report.

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“The main elements of the fastening system that transferred the greatest loads were the welds connecting the upper fastening beams with the crane chassis. During the examination and inspection of the remains of the main fastening system on the TRD Voyager pontoon, the Commission notes that the fastening beams’ welds were most likely damaged as one of the first elements of this fastening system” – it was indicated.

The sobriety of the crew members was checked by border guardsMOSG

After changing the watch

During the voyage, as described in detail in the report, the watch was changed and the first officer took over from the captain. It was pointed out that he did not notice the loss of the crane from the pontoon until about four hours after its fall. “The Commission notes that during the towing operation, there was no proper observation of the behavior of the towed object together with the load” – it was assessed.

According to the Commission, “the lack of an exact location of the loss of cargo by the tugboat Odys caused a threat to the safety of navigation (…) until the discovery of the crane wreck by the Zodiak II vessel, i.e. two days after the accident” – emphasized in the report.

It was also reminded that officers of the Border Guard, at the height of Rozewie, carried out a safety check of the navigation of the towing vessel and the sobriety of the six-person crew.

After this incident, the press spokesman of the Commander of the Maritime Border Guard Unit in Gdańsk, Cmdr. SG Andrzej Juźwiak explained in an interview with PAP that the men had from 0.35 to 0.46 per mille of alcohol in the body. The captain of the tugboat and the other two crew members, however, were sober.

The main part of the crane has been excavated

The report also stated that during the incident, there were periods of showers and strong winds in the Baltic Sea. “An external factor that had an impact on the accident was the wind blowing at night, generating side waves and longitudinal and transverse swaying of the pontoon with the load, causing the failure stresses to be exceeded in relation to the welded joints of the upper fastening beams, which were detached from the crane chassis” – it was emphasized.

In May this year, the main structure of the shipyard crane (portal part together with the trolley mechanism) was extracted from the bottom of the Baltic Sea so that it would not pose a threat to navigation for vessels with a large draught.

A detailed report is available on the website of the State Commission for the Investigation of Maritime Accidents.

Main photo source: MOSG

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