Investigations have been launched into an accident that occurred in Rostock on May 2 involving an offshore heavy lift crane.

The HLC 295000 crane, which is fitted on the offshore installation vessel Orion 1, was undergoing load tests at Liebherr’s facilities in Rostock. The vessel is currently under construction and owned by Cosco Offshore. DEME was scheduled to accept delivery during the second half of May 2020.

Liebherr said that of the two people that were taken to hospital for their injuries, one has already been released. Ten people were treated onsite by the rescue teams.

At this stage in the investigations, Liebherr said that the responsible authorities and experts agree that a broken crane hook was the cause of the accident. The exact reasons as to why the hook did not withstand the load are unclear at this stage.

The crane hook was designed and purchased from an external supplier, meaning that a design or production error of the Liebherr crane can be excluded, added the manufacturer.

“At this point we wish the injured persons all the best and hope for a full and speedy recovery,” said Leopold Berthold, managing director of Liebherr-MCCtec Rostock. “Considering the extent of the damages, we are above all thankful that it did not cause more personal injuries. Our priorities currently lie in fully supporting the investigating authorities in order to contribute to the quickest possible clarification of the accident,” added Berthold.

Orion arrived in Rostock during November in preparation for the installation of the HLC 295000. The crane has been designed to have a maximum lifting capacity of 5,000 tonnes at an outreach of 35 m. The overload test for the HLC 295000 was planned for a load scenario of 5,500 tonnes.

Carrying out an overload test is a typical procedure for the industry, whereby the crane is tested for its maximum lifting capacity. Currently, the known facts indicate that the incident occurred at a load of around 2,600 tonnes.

Initial estimates suggest that the damage amounts to “a high double-digit million figure”, said Liebherr.

The accident has had no effect on the day-today operations at Liebherr-MCCtec Rostock.