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Welding on crane boom

Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:29 am
by Redroof
Good day Gents, and Ladies - it's the 21st Century afterall.

Looking for some advice, probably looking for Chiefs/ Surveyor/ Superintendent level with this one.

I am looking to change wire guides on a knuckle boom crane, on the actual knuckle boom itself. This will involve welding 6 x 150mmx150mm plates to three locations along the boom length, one for each leg of the goalpost like wire guides.
I have an approved welding process from the manufacturer and a 3rd party company able to carry this out with approved welders and materials.

My question is do I need to carry out a load test on the crane once this is carried out?

I say yes, and most C/E friends agree, some of many years' experience. However my company crane 'guru' says no as the welding is not in the load path, I disagree, I see the knuckle boom as part of the structure, hence in the load path. He also states that it is not a repair to a crack, but my retort is that we are applying heat in multiple locations along the boom.

Lloyds state that 'Every lifting appliance is to be tested and thoroughly examined before being taken into use for the first time or after any subsequent alteration or repair which may affect the strength of the appliance, or at certain Periodical Surveys as indicated in Section 3' Taken from Lloyds code of lifting appliances in a marine environment chapter 12 1.1.

This to me can be taken subjectively as what constitutes an alteration or repair which may affect the strength of the appliance?

It is also worth pointing out that my Superintendent is in agreement with the crane 'guru' however neither the 'guru' nor the Super hold a C/E cert.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, indeed if there is a Class Surveyor reading this, please private message me with your thoughts!

Thanks in advance, this forum has helped me loads since I discovered it earlier this year, and it's a cracking read!



Re: Welding on crane boom

Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:36 am
by Big Pete
Hi Redroof,

Glad you enjoy the Forum.
I would tend to agree with you that welding on the jib could effect its strength due to thermal stressing and effectively, heat treatment of the parent metal.
Following the correct welding procedures, in accordance with the makers instructions, should prevent this happening.

However, this is SHOULD not WILL. There could be a fault in the procedure or in the welder following it, sot here is still a possibility of failure, as a result of this repair.

I think that in the past, when Surveying was more Rule Based, Most Surveyors would have insisted on a load test on completion of the Repair.

However, Class Rules are increasingly based on Risk Assessment, and putting the onus for any failure firmly back on the shoulders of the shipowner, and the repairer. I can see a Surveyor now accepting the repair so long as the repair Company will give him (or Her) a piece of paper saying that the repair has been carried out in accordance with the maker's instructions, especially if the work has been supervised by a maker's man.

However, the above is really only applicable if the "Wire Guides" are welded directly onto the Boom, I would have thought that there would have been a doubler plate /Pad, welded onto the Boom and then the original wire guides would be welded onto that. The doubler plate would not be structural, and welding replacement Wire Guides onto it would not effect the strength of the Boom. Which would be a way around the cost and delay of carrying out a load test.

FYI I was a Class Surveyor for a short while about 30 years ago and have had 45 years experience at Sea.

Good Luck.


Re: Welding on crane boom

Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:39 am
by Redroof
Hi BP,
Thanks for your reply, especially on a Sunday! Just trying to get my powder dry for a Monday morning opening salvo on the crane group and Superintendent!

To explain a bit better where I did not before. The new wire guides will be welded to doubler plates, which themselves have to be welded on to the boom.

So I see the installation as this
- weld doubler plates (150x150x10mm) to crane knuckle boom with 3.2 rods following welding procedure.
- weld pre-fabricated goal post type new wire guides.

Either way we have to weld the foot plates of the guides to the boom.

Does that change your thoughts?

My other plan is to stick my head out the window and contact class directly, effectively undermining my Super , which I am sure he will not be impressed at........



Re: Welding on crane boom

Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:27 pm
by JK
If this was in Canada I'd consider having the shop audited by CWB before welding commences. They will check welding certs, procedures , how the rods are handled, the preheats before an arc was struck. Also, we'd have stamped professional engineer approvals of the work in hand.

I would definitely load test the crane before putting it in service.

For the sake of a couple of hours and the cost of a crane to lift the test weights which is basically nothing, you are covering yourself. If there was a crane accident, you can bet the investigation would be looking at you.

I've seen the Schatt FSR gibberish in rage over unauthorized welding on a davit.

Re: Welding on crane boom

Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:07 am
by Big Pete
OK Redroof,
I suppose the meeting is over now, and the decision has been made, one way or the other. I am a little bit puzzled as to why you have to weld new doubler plates/pads onto the Boom, weren't there Doubler Plates for the old wire guides, that could be re-used?
Anyway, cover your ****, make sure you keep copies of emails to and from your Super regarding this job, just in case you end up in Court and the Super develops slopey shoulders.
Maybe even send him an email summarising your understanding of the agreement made at the meeting today, and asking him to confirm it. That will place him on the Hot spot and he won't be happy, but is normal ashore, where meetings are minuted and copies sent to all participants for review. It makes sure everyone involved has the decisions made in Black and White and can refer back to them later in case of any misunderstandings.

The Marine Industry lags far behind shore side in documenting decision making, possibly because many Marine Engineers have some difficulties with paperwork and are used to making their own decisions rather than working through a committee.

Regarding contacting Class Directly that is certainly dangerous, for you, if the Super has decided not to contact them. However, the Contract between Class and your Shipping Company will clearly say that it is the ship owner's responsibility to call in Class if there are any failures of, or repairs to, any Classed items.
In this case is the crane Classed?? Not all are.

However, Flag state have responsibility for everything that goes on on board, you don't say if your ship is UK flag or not, but I assume from your personal details that you are in Scotland at present, presumably working in the North Sea Offshore Industry. There is a possibility of contacting the MCA if you feel the repair would be dangerous/ unsafe but again your Super will see this as undermining his Authority and knowledge.

There is a possibility that rather than welding the doubler to the Boom you could clamp it on, maybe a bit more expensive to fabricate a bolted clamp that size, but it avoids all the risks of welding, and then weld the guide onto the bolted clamp.

I would certainly discuss this with the Captain of the ship, he is also responsible for the safety of the Ship and the people on board, and it is your responsibility to keep him informed of any safety or reliability issues that are concerning you. It is always useful to discuss things like this with the Captain, he knows the people and Companies involved and is experienced in the industry. As the old saying goes, " a trouble shared is a trouble halved". If you discuss the problems you are having in your Department with the Captain he will have much more confidence in you than if you just tell him everything is perfect all the time.
A lot depends on the shipping Company and your Super, also the Class Surveyor you contact, if a Surveyor turns up, out of the Blue, and starts raising hell the Super will be blaming you for dropping him in it, and it won't advance your career prospects at all.

Good Luck and let us know how it works out.


Re: Welding on crane boom

Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:16 pm
by Redroof
Apologies for the above, prematurely hit the submit button, it's been a long day.....

As I was saying,

The vessel is UK flagged, LR Classed, and engaged in offshore construction but not working in UK. The crane is Classes as per LR rules and subject to 5 year surveys.

I have sent my concerns to the crane group, copying in the Master and Superintendent. Captain has already offered to go straight to class as he knows the Super and has had a few run ins with him on similar subjects. Indeed just last trip he had me making modifications to the fire main without submitting plans to Class against my better judgement, so he has form.

I have demanded to formalise the process with management of change documents, hence an auditable trail with more than two parties the stakeholders.

To explain again further the original guides do not have feet, they are simply round bar welded to the boom. Over the 8 years of non stop abuse from offshore crane drivers and riggers we have one of 3 left hanging on. The new guides are of a new more robust design which requires the welding od the footpads/ doublers on the boom. These plates are 150x150x10mm steel plate.

So, waiting for the verdict still from this fabled crane group. I will however keep you updated on progress.

Again many thanks for the help and words of support. The Chief's chair can be a lonely place at times!


Re: Welding on crane boom

Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:01 am
by JK
sorry, I answered on the assumption you were working ashore.
However, I fully agree with Big Pete. You need to have everything fully documented. One of the ships I dealt with kept a binder with every refit item tabbed. That allowed them to track all of the emails and information related to that specific topic. When a superintendent sees that, they tend to become a little more aware.

Re: Welding on crane boom

Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:28 am
by D Winsor
I feel your pain in this matter as I have found myself in similar situations in the past and I feel this increasingly becoming the way the industry is being run.

Gone are the days when many Superintendents, Front Line Class Surveyors and Captains & Chief Engineers, all followed similar paths with respect to Education, Training & Experience. Meaning in a situation like you describe and there is doubt on how best to do a job and remain in compliance, a couple of phone calls or emails would come up with an agreement that would be agreeable to all parties. There was also with this, a certain level of implied “Shared” responsibility for the agreement based on the mutual respect for each other’s experience and knowledge.

Today more and more superintendents have either limited or no experience as a Captain or Chief Engineer and are now being judged and sometimes compensated on their “Budget Management” skills by Senior Management. This now means the superintendent has to, in order to work within an ever shrinking budget and enhance corporate profitability, be constantly looking for and exploit loopholes in the regulatory process, limit corporate liability through (my favorite) “Risk Analysis” and use of outright pressure tactics like “If You won’t do or agree to a proposed non-emergency repair or change that requires but has not received or circumvents class approval, you can be replaced by someone who will”.

Class Societies are also under increased pressure and scrutiny from many sources, including the court of public opinion. This has forced them to take a much harder line to enforce regulatory compliance to limit their own liability and limits surveyors discretion on many items.

This unfortunately puts, the ones that could lose the most in the proverbial cross hairs if there is some sort of incident resulting from an unapproved or unauthorized modification or repair that did not receive proper regulatory approval and certification, even if EVERYTHING has been documented and stored for safe keeping. The Captains and Chief Engineers.

I know opinions similar to this have been expressed in the past on this forum but in this case it bears repeating

Re: Welding on crane boom

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:37 am
by Big Pete
Hi Redroof,

Good Luck with it all, I think we have covered everything I can think off.
I agree those Gold Stripes sometimes weigh heavy on our shoulders, and you have my sympathy with the cost cutting Superintendents, and the Eastern Europeans and Asians who generally just obey orders from Supers and never question anything or take responsibility for what is happening on their ship. No wonder management love them!!


Re: Welding on crane boom

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:27 am
by Redroof
Hi again folks,
It's been a week or so and I have just had a reply from our crane 'guru' the vessel superintendent has not said a peep.

So, the crane, according to the 'guru' is not under any classification and there is no need to consult class.

I am not in the big seat very long, just coming up 2 years, but I have seen Lloyds on here performing thorough examinations (5-yearly), annual inspections, and load tests in the 4 years I have been on this vessel. I also have a considerable amount of certification from Lloyds on this crane, we are also collating evidence to submit to LR for the slew ring deferral certificate which means we dont have to split the crane apart to inspect the slew ring bearing. If the crane is not classed, why do we have to do all this. Is my relative inexperience missing something here?

At least I have managed to get the process formalised by going down the company management of change route. Means I can flag this up on paper officially and it will be forever recorded.

A exercise in a*se covering if nothing else.

The learning curve will never plateau, that's why I love and hate this job.



Re: Welding on crane boom

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:04 am
by JK
so if it is not under any classification, how did it get installed on a Class ship I wonder.........
but what do I know :)

Re: Welding on crane boom

Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:46 pm
by Big Pete
The ship may be classed but lots of equipment that is not essential for the safe Navigation of the vessel does not have to be classed. Think pre heaters for Diesel Engines, Calorifiers, Hydrophore systems etc, On supply boats the Tugger winches are for cargo lashing and not a Class Item.

DP systems will be a Class item if the ship has a Class Notation of DP but don't have to be.

Lots of optional extra with Class such as Automation, DP, Ice, Refrigeration, Heavy Lift etc.

When I was working as a Class Surveyor I was sent to do Annuals on one ship and found that because the Automation and alarm systems were totalll defunct, the owners had requested that the "Aut CLASS Notation be dropped and they would contine sailing the ship with a manned ER, no problem if something does not work all you have to do is drop the Notation for that equipment. I sailed on a ship that had been Ice Class but the prop was damaged, it was too expensive to buy a new Ice Class (Stainless Steel) prop so the owners asked Class to remove the "Ice" Notation, again no problem, and fitted a standard Phosphor Bronze prop.


Re: Welding on crane boom

Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:16 pm
by JK
Yes we have done all that in the past.
I just realized on reflection I was thinking about Marinized cranes. A big brain fart.

Re: Welding on crane boom

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:39 am
by D Winsor
From what has been said I guess the requirement of certification and approval of modifications on such equipment by class depends on the type of service, in this case, the crane is being used and if Class is tasked with the inspection and certification of lifting devices with respect to structure and safety equipment on behalf of the Port State.
I know inspectors can be very diligent on the condition or modification of dual purpose cranes such as stores cranes that are utilized for the launch of lifesaving equipment or dedicated cranes, such as engine room gantry cranes or specialty cargo handling cranes, that failure would adversely effect the safety of the vessel. With this in mind, if the crane being discussed is or can, potentially be utilized as or is considered part of the life saving equipment of the vessel, or failure could potentially jeopardize the safety of the vessel, class could and should be involved.

Re: Welding on crane boom

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:58 pm
by JollyJack
Class needs a fat envelope, a bottle of Johnny Walker and a carton of Marlborough, coupled with copious tugging of forelocks, and they pass anything. Only met 2 Class surveyors between 1972 and 2003 who actually put on coveralls and a hard hat and went poking about with flashlight.