Liebherr responds to marine crane incident

Liebherr has provided an update on the incident involving its 5,000 tonne HLC 295000 offshore crane at its Rostock yard in Germany on Saturday – see: 5,000t crane collapses during test.

We can now confirm that the incident took place during a planned overload test to lift a 5,500 tonne barge, and that the hook block broke free with a load of approximately 2,600 tonnes. This caused the twin boom and jib to catapult back over the rear of the crane and crumple, injuring 12 people. Two were taken to hospital to have their injuries treated while a further 10 were treated by paramedics on site.

The company said: “At this stage in the investigations, the responsible authorities and experts unanimously 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 of investigations. The design and manufacture of the crane hook was purchased from an external supplier. A design or production error of the Liebherr crane can therefore be excluded.”
Preliminary findings has revealed that the crane hook failed to withstand the load during overload testing

“The overload test for the HLC 295000 was planned for a load scenario of 5,500 tonnes. The lift should have been carried out through the hoisting of a barge. Carrying out an overload test is a typical procedure for the industry, whereby the crane is tested for its maximum lifting capacity. Currently known facts indicate that the incident occurred at a load of around 2,600 tonnes causing a chain reaction which led to the accident.”

Liebherr Rostock managing director, Leopold Berthold, said: “At this point we wish the injured persons all the best and hope for a full and speedy recovery. 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.”

Initial estimates of the damage is said to be in the region of €80-100 million.


I have seen many comments about a lack of slings. Could it be they used solid anchors for the hook that may have put detrimental loading on it for which it was not designed? This could be exacerbated by the test weight barge not being properly positioned or restraints not being properly executed.

It just seems unusual for a component to fail at 50% and unlike Liebhher to slack on due dilligence, in my experience that are of exceptionally high standards. Or have they got rid of technical members from the board as Boeing did? One hopes not.

Pure speculation from a retired offshore engineer.

May 11, 2020

The video above does not show all that much , clearly someone cut it and just left the last few seconds
It will be nice the be able to have 10/15 seconds prior to what have

May 8, 2020

Blaming the supplier: "A design or production error of the Liebherr crane can therefore be excluded.”

But, a huge quality control error when outsourcing critical parts.

May 8, 2020