News release

Catastrophic failure leads to warning about potential risk with cargo cranes aboard bulk carriers

Gatineau, Quebec, 24 November 2014 – Following a catastrophic failure on one of the cargo handling cranes aboard the bulk carrier Seapace in Bécancour, Quebec, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today issued a warning to vessel owners.

On 13 August 2014, the bulk carrier Seapace sustained a failure of its cargo crane #4. The slewing ring bearing broke apart and the complete cabin and jib assemblies collapsed into a cargo hold, injuring the crane operator. The TSB is participating in the investigation of the occurrence with Transport Malta’s Marine Safety Investigation Unit.

There is a possibility that the same progressive failure of a slewing ring bearing will occur on any vessel fitted with similar cargo handling cranes. While the TSB has asked the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) to share information about the safety risks, there is no known central database of such vessel owners. The TSB is therefore communicating this message to help reach vessel owners.

The bulk carrier is one of a series of 443 sister ships that were constructed between 2008 and 2014, by various shipyards located in China. The cargo handling crane was built for Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. (IHI) of Japan, under licence by Wuhan Marine Machinery Plant Co. Ltd. (WMMP) of China. It was an electro-hydraulic jib crane of the slim type SS36T (serial number DC09-11102-4). The slewing ring bearing assembly was fabricated by Dalian Metallurgical Bearing Co. Ltd. of China under the standard JB/T2300 of the type 133.34.2300.00.03 (2-row roller slewing ring bearing with internal gear, serial number D00984). For pictures of the occurrence, visit our Flickr page.

Vessel owners should take whatever measures considered appropriate to ensure the integrity of any similar unit in service on board vessels. The TSB would appreciate being advised of any measures implemented either by phone at 1-800-387-3557 or by email at

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053