Crane Boom Collisions with Ships: A Persistent Problem


Crane boom collisions with ships at port terminals remain a significant concern despite technological advancements aimed at mitigating these risks. The introduction of boom anti-collision electronic sensors has helped reduce incidents, but collisions still occur frequently, leading to costly repairs and operational disruptions, reports TT News.

Impact of Crane Boom Collisions

Crane boom collisions can vary in severity, from minor impacts to incidents causing millions of dollars in damages. Beyond the immediate repair costs, such collisions often result in significant business interruptions. A crane could be out of service for up to 24 months, depending on the lead time for replacement, impacting port operations severely.

Recent Trends and Statistics

TT Club’s analysis from 2019 to 2023 reveals 95 claims involving quay crane boom collisions, totaling over US$9 million in insured costs. Most incidents (73%) involved the boom hitting the ship’s accommodation or bridge area, while 27% involved collisions with the ship’s crane. Notably, some incidents occurred despite the presence of anti-collision systems, highlighting the need for robust and properly maintained systems.

Technological Solutions

The most effective anti-collision systems are electronic sensors, which provide warning, slow-down, and stop signals to prevent collisions. These sensors, like those from Sick Sensor Technologies, are cost-effective and reliable under various weather conditions. Proper installation and commissioning by competent engineers are crucial to ensure their effectiveness.

Operational Challenges

Despite the availability of effective technology, some terminal operators delay adopting these solutions until after experiencing a collision. Additionally, operational errors and improper installation can render these systems ineffective. Ensuring that systems are correctly installed and not overridden is essential for preventing collisions.


  • Mandatory Installation: Ports should mandate the installation of proven electronic sensor systems on all quay cranes.
  • Regular Maintenance: Continuous maintenance and proper commissioning of anti-collision systems are vital.
  • Training: Enhanced training for crane operators, including simulator use, can reduce human error.
  • Engagement: Terminal operators should involve their workforce and engineers in addressing and resolving issues related to anti-collision systems.

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Source: TT News


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