Friday, February 16, 2007

Cranes headed to Craney Island

Okay, not really Craney Island, but right close.

These are the cranes headed for the new container facility being built in Portsmouth off of Route 164 next to the Coast Guard's Portsmouth base.

The photo above was posted by Hans Rosenkranz to Shipspotting and indicates the picture was taken 12 December 2006; the ZHEN HAU was "passing Singapore Roads westbound."

Gregory Richards of the the Virginian Pilot notes,
The cranes, to be used for unloading cargo container ships, are each taller than the Statue of Liberty, and their booms are longer than a football field.
The ship with the cranes, the M/V ZHEN HUA, left Shanghai, China on the 4th of December enroute to Portsmouth with the ten cranes. The ZHEN HUA has been offshore Cape Henry for several days, unable to enter port because of the winds. She's expected in tomorrow, Saturday the 16th around noon... assuming the winds cooperate, that is.

On Dec. 4, the ship began its voyage to Portsmouth, leaving from Shanghai, China, where the cranes were manufactured.

I was wondering how they get these cranes off the vessel. Found the answer at the website, Shipspotting where the above picture is from. Mike Cornwall wrote,

I have just posted several photos of the arrival of our three new ZPMC container cranes at the Port of Auckland.

The arrival of this vessel was indeed a sight to behold, the most impressive thing afloat that I have ever seen.

Most of you probably wonder how on earth the cranes are loaded and unloaded.

Well, I can't comment on the loading, but the unloading was amazing.

It took 3 solid days work to get the cranes ready for discharge. They are secured by very large pipes that are welded to the deck of the vessel and then to the cranes, both on the inside and outside of the legs. They can be clearly seen in the photos.
These all have to be cut away.

Dummy bogies are fitted at right angles to the crane bogies and then tracks are laid on the dock, and across the vessel.

On the deck you will see 2 blue 40ft containers and 2 20ft containers. These are placed ashore opposite the cranes to come off. They are in fact tanks and are filled with water and used as anchor points. Pulleys are attached to them and wire ropes are threaded from the crane through them and back to the vessel. When the tide is right the final pieces of track are laid from the ship to the dock and winches on the ship start pulling.

The actual discharge takes only about 20 minutes.

When completed the crane is moved down the dock and the ships is moved so that the next crane is opposite the container anchor points.

Only one crane comes off per day.

The ship is a converted oil tanker and if you look at the photos you will see how here original main deck has been cut away so that the present main deck is so much lower.

According to Equasis ZPMC have 15 of these vessels and contrary to what some think, they are not submersable.
See here for a photo showing the ZHEN HUA alongside the dock with the anchor containers in place.

From the time of his note, I'm guessing that perhaps the ZHEN HUA made one or two stops before arriving here in Portsmouth.

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