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Southern African Shipyards, Bayhead, Durban


The Bayhead harbour area was once home to two 55-year-old, redundant, corroded Krupp cranes standing 76-metres high from the quayside. The structures had become unsafe and posed a serious risk to surrounding buildings and employees.

Weather-induced stoppages, lateral shifts in the imposed centre of mass and gravitational forces and metal weight discrepancies were aggravating factors to safe removal. Bayhead had explored all dismantlement options, including explosive demolition, but wisely opted for systematic, top-down flame-cutting of 30-ton to 40-ton sections under a crane hook lowered to the ground in a controlled manner.

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Reef Rigging was tasked with mechanical dismantlement, cranage and rigging to remove and scrap the old cranes.

This was not an easy undertaking given the aged, climatic-induced metal deterioration of the crane structures. Aside from fitters have to work at 72-metre height elevation, there were many additional risk factors.

We deployed three of the largest mobile cranes available in KZN: a 440-ton, a 220-ton and a 100-ton with fly jib.

The job was a success, and the project timeline from start to completion (scrap removal from the site) was an impressive 35 days. This included forced seasonal wind velocity and rain stoppages.

Our total site clearance enabled the client to move ahead with their next project – the proposed largest overhead gantry installation shipyard repair facility in the southern hemisphere.