U.S. Coast Guard Issues Marine Safety Alert for Wire Rope Hazards

by | Dec 12, 2023 | Maritime Law, Offshore accidents

The United States Coast Guard has issued a marine safety alert following an incident involving a crane accident.  During the incident, a rope parted while the crane was performing a lift, causing the cargo to fall to the deck of the vessel.  The alert notes:
Cargo transfers using shipboard cranes are common and increase vessel capabilities to service ports with minimal shoreside infrastructure. Although crane wire rope failures are rare, the consequences are serious and can include vessel damage, cargo loss, injury, and death.
Although the mechanism of failure is rare, the consequences can be catastrophic, both to cargo and workers.  As a result, the Coast Guard issued recommendations that vessels equipped with cranes:
• Implement increased load testing frequency to verify wire rope integrity between class society mandated 5-year load tests.
• Are provided with and utilize pressure lubricating devices as recommended by the manufacturer for routine maintenance.
• Ensure maintenance tracking systems align with manufacturer’s recommended maintenance protocol, including the period of employment and renewal of wire ropes.
• Consider shortened periods of employment and early renewal of crane wire ropes to prevent corrosion and fatigue induced failures.
• Instruct and train all personnel to never position themselves under cargo suspended by any crane, even temporarily.
• Ensure all shipboard crane operators are properly trained and cognizant of industry best practices.
• Implement increased wire rope visual inspection frequency.
• Degrease and remove all lubricant prior to crane wire rope visual inspections to ensure surface defects are not concealed.

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