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70-year-old port crane falls into the water during demolition

crane falls into port in fife 1

The topside element of the redundant crane – a legacy of the BiFab yard at Burntisland – crashed into the water in the West Dock of the port on 12th May morning.

No one was injured as a result of the incident, the owner of the port has since confirmed.

One resident said it was a “sad end for an iconic piece of equipment from Burntisland’s industrial heyday”.

“The crane was made by Butters Bros & Co Ltd in Glasgow and dated back to the 50s – when there was still a shipyard in the town,” Sarah Price told STV News. The Butters’ Brothers & Co Ltd was founded in 1867 by Michael and Archibald Butters at premises in Howard Street, Glasgow. In 1898 they moved to 195 McLelland Street and in the 1930s they opened branch works in London. In 1963 the company became a member of the Thomas W Ward engineering group in Sheffield, England. The firm manufactured all types of cranes but especially the Scots pole derrick crane.

“More recently, before it shut down for good, the yard had been used by Bifab for oil and energy-related fabrication contracts. The old crane was not used anymore, but its great bulk was still a familiar feature on the town’s skyline, like a great rusting redundant bird.”

The specialist demolition contractor, Dem-Master Demolition Ltd, was in “full control” of the site and the operator at the time, owner Forth Ports added.

“We can confirm that the topside element of a redundant crane, that was in the process of being demolished by a specialist contractor at the Port of Burntisland in Fife, has fallen into the West Dock at the port,” they said.

“This is clearly a concerning incident and it is important to confirm that there are no reports of any injuries.

“A team from Forth Ports and the demolition contractor is on-site and is currently assessing the best way to recover the structure from the dock.

“The specialist demolition contractor was in full control of the site and the operation at the time of the incident.  There will be a full investigation by both Forth Ports and the contractor as to the cause of the incident. 

crane falls into port in fife
The upper structure of the port crane before it falls into the water.

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