TT Talk - Quay Crane Anti-Collision Systems

The TT Club is strongly urging container terminal operators to fit electronic sensor devices to quay crane booms to prevent them accidentally colliding with vessels during loading and unloading operations in port.

Crane booms colliding with the structure or equipment of a ship is an all-to-common occurrence at almost every port around the world, causing serious injuries to workers and costly repairs and operational downtime.

Modern electronic sensors can nearly eliminate this type of incident. Depending on the boom structure one or two sensors are required. At a cost of about Euro 8,000 per sensor this may be worth the investment.

Among the various types of device currently in use, the simplest consists of wires run along the length of the crane boom, which activate a switch to stop the crane if they are touched. However, this system may not stop the crane fully before a collision occurs, and, while better than nothing, does not provide the level of protection afforded by electronic sensing devices.

Among commonly used electronic sensors are a laser based unit supplied by Sick Sensor Intelligence and a radar based unit from Navtech Electronic Ltd. Such sensors allow programming to provide separate warning, slow down, and stop signals to help prevent collisions. Sensor units need to be kept clean, so require access, and a solid mounting system to ensure vibration does not cause operational errors. Laser units can be affected by direct sunlight.

The TT Club strongly recommends the installation of such devices. We would urge operators to retro-fit effective sensor systems suitable for the specific application to existing cranes and to specify them when ordering new cranes. A great deal of damage and loss can be prevented for a relatively small investment. Whilst we have discussed only two systems in this article, if readers know of alternative systems which can provide effective protection, we would ask them to inform the Club so we can share this information.