Large ships and heavy machinery might be a regular sight at the port of Marseille, but this project with a Tadano CC 68.1250-1 as its protagonist was anything but ordinary: “Not a single one of the employees at the site had ever seen such an enormous crane in the flesh before – which maybe isn’t that surprising, given that our CC 68.1250-1 is the biggest crane currently in use in France and Italy,” reports Vernazza Autogru General Director Paolo Delfino. The job itself was unusual as well: In “Forme 10”, one of the biggest dry docks in all of Europe, the Tadano crane lifted technical equipment onto the Saipem CastorOne, one of the world’s largest pipelaying ships with its length of 325 meters.
More specifically, the crane had to replace the heavy pipelaying equipment on the ship with more powerful and efficient components. This included lifting a DMA winch weighing 190 tonnes to a height of 30 meters at a radius of 30 meters onto the ship, as well as a total of six 200-tonne tensioners to a height of 40 meters at a radius of 50 meters. The heaviest load, however, was a 500-tonne pipeline winch with a five-kilometre steel wire rope that had to be lifted to a height of five meters at a radius of 25 meters. “These specifications make it clear that only an extraordinarily powerful lattice boom crawler crane was going to be able to take care of the huge loads and large work radii.
On top of that, we needed to account for the tight space conditions at the dock even with an installed Superlift system, so that our CC 68.1250-1 was the way to go,” Paolo Delfino explains. The fact that the Tadano crane’s track width nearly matched the rail spacing of the harbour crane at the dock turned out to be a crucial advantage, as it made it possible to position and move the CC 68.1250-1 on crane mats directly on the rails. “That was a very fortunate circumstance, as it made manoeuvring the crane much easier,” Paolo Delfino underscores.
Before all this happened, the CC 68.1250-1 had to get to France from the Italian city of La Spezia. To this end, it was taken to Marseille on a 3,000-tonne barge in four days, where the five-person Vernazza team set it up ready to go in less than a week after the maritime trip. The crane was configured with an 84-meter main boom and SSL with the complete superstructure and superlift counterweights, enabling it to take care of all lifts safely and as scheduled with a ramshorn hook for both light and heavy loads. “The CC 68.1250-1 was the perfect choice for this ambitious job, and it once again demonstrated its extraordinary manoeuvrability and precision,” Paolo Delfino happily summarizes. And the CC 68.1250-1 also got perfect marks when it came to reliability: There was not a single technical issue at any point in the project of around four months, so the client, the Chantier Naval de Marseille shipyard, was extremely happy with the results as well. “And a fully satisfied client is our topmost priority,” says Paolo Delfino, who has nothing but praise for his team, the Tadano CC 68.1250-1, and the way both did their job perfectly.