Urgent attendance Required in Las Palmas

June 2020

Tom Masters

Appointed to attend a crane barge in Las Palmas our instructions were to investigate the circumstances surrounding a catastrophic failure to the luffing wire as a consequence of which, the crane’s boom had collapsed into the hold of the vessel the crane had been discharging. Our expert surveyor and marine engineer Tom Masters mobilised immediately.

“Our client required our urgent attendance in Las Palmas. The matter was time critical as the damaged vessel was due to go into the repair facility and our client needed answers before it did. Permitted to travel as a result of the recent relaxation in COVID restrictions, TMC completed a stringent and comprehensive risk assessment and then, with all necessary precautions in place I was permitted to depart. Spain required the completion of heath & safety declarations but these were easily downloaded from the airline’s website and completed with due dispatch.

Heathrow Terminals 5 was eerily quiet as was Madrid Barajas International. The BA flight from Heathrow was full (COVID) capacity, loaded from the rear to the front and when disembarking we were allowed off 5 rows at a time from front to back, so as to minimise any contact. The Air Europa flight to Las Palmas was more of a free for all and I was glad to be fully kitted with appropriate PPE. On arrival Las Palmas all passengers had a temperature check whilst travelling down the escalator to baggage reclaim.

Tom Masters

The inspection itself went smoothly and I was able to examine all available damaged parts and components of the crane. The collapsed boom had been cropped and left in the hold of the discharging vessel but I was still able to preserve all obtainable evidence potentially necessary for an analysis of the root cause of the failure. With the aid of the crew, and whilst observing all necessary social distancing and hygiene precautions, a number of tests were carried out over the next two days. I departed the vessel having carried out my instructions and able to advise my client both the extent of the damage and the causative chain of events. Job done and client happy – another productive trip for TMC.

Within 48 hours of departure for travel back to the UK a form has to be downloaded from the UK Government website, and completed
in respect of the 14 days quarantine requirement. Fortunately for me, under section 256 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1985, inspectors and surveyors of ships are exempt. The completed form needs to be printed off as this needs to be shown to UK Border Agents on arrival back in the UK.

As on the way out, all airports were eerily quiet with social distancing in force. Refreshments on-board and facilities at the airport are nigh on non-existent, so fill up before you go. Roll on the next job – I’m already looking forward to my next trip!”

“…fortunately for me, under section 256 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1985, – Inspectors and Surveyors of Ships are exempt…”

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