Deck Cranes – How To Prevent Breakdowns And Downtime!


Cargo cranes are an essential limb during cargo operations on board.  A crane breakdown can result in loss of hire and claims.  Cranes are complex piece of machinery which incorporate numerous components manufactured to very fine tolerances, all of which must function correctly throughout the working period.  Any failure in such working can result in serious injury or death.


The UK P&I Club has launched new publication LP Focus on deck crane inspections and maintenance.  The club emphasises on regular maintenance and inspection procedures along with proper record for future verification.

Inspection and Maintenance

Routine inspection and maintenance of the cranes (and grabs, if fitted) should be carried out according to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and this should be incorporated into the ship’s planned maintenance system.



The wires for the cranes – those fitted and any spares – should each have a certificate and these should be kept with the cargo gear record book.  Although not a requirement, the ship should maintain a record of the wires for each crane, listing the certificate for each wire and when the wires were fitted.

Hydraulic Oil


The majority of cranes onboard ship are of the electrohydraulic type.  It is important that the hydraulic oil is maintained in good condition. In addition to regularly checking oil levels, filters should be regularly inspected.  These often have indicators to show when they need cleaning and may have a magnet fitted, which should be inspected for any significant build-up of ferrous debris.  It is also recommended to carry out a shore based oil analysis to check the oil quality.

Brakes and Safety Devices


The brakes on the cranes should be regularly inspected and their condition recorded.  Band brakes often have indicators to show the correct brake tension but linings should be checked to ensure they are of adequate thickness and are not contaminated with oil.  Disk brakes are usually checked by measuring the clearance, and this should be recorded in the maintenance records.

To understand better the implication of non maintenance of deck cranes please visit

Source: UK P&I Club


  1. Thanks for pointing out that the schedule of the inspection and maintenance should also be followed according to the manufacturer’s rules. With that in mind, I will tell my uncle to read the manual to find out when to get his new crane inspected. He just bought it three months ago, and he is already using it to transfer things in their factory. This will help them keep in good condition at the right time.


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