Insurers look into charges over cranes

INSURERS are set to examine whether they can charge the company which delivered new cranes to Felixstowe port, for the damage caused when the ship carrying them smashed into a berth.

INSURERS are set to examine whether they can charge the company which delivered new cranes to Felixstowe port, for the damage caused when the ship carrying them smashed into a berth.

The port's insurers are still assessing the massive damage bill from the accident which brought Landguard Terminal to a standstill.

Bosses at the Port of Felixstowe are turning to their insurers at the TT Club, which covers ports throughout the country, to pay for the huge clean-up task but today the club said it would look at whether it could cover some of the cost by asking Chinese crane manufacturer ZPMC to meet some of the bill.

The port has faced major disruption since the Zhen Hua 23 broke from its moorings during a storm on February 29. After the ship broke free cranes it was delivering to the port and to Thamesport and a port in Sweden collided with two cranes on the quay, destroying the two on land.

Some speculation had been raised about whether the port or the TT Club would launch legal action against the manufacturers of the cranes but both said that looked unlikely.

Paul Davey, head of corporate affairs at Felixstowe port, said: “We are dealing with our insurers, what happens beyond them we are unable to comment on.

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“There's no intention from the Port of Felixstowe to take legal action against anyone.”

Ian Lush, marketing director at the TT Club, said: “If there was a case for something that wasn't right and the liability fell with the people delivering the cranes then there is potential for the club to say 'OK we want some money back' but that doesn't in any way mean they are talking about any complicated legal action it just means there could be some kind of negotiation to an agreed fee.”

But he added: “Of course there could be an action.”

Mr Lush said cranes of the type which were damaged were “expensive items”.

The three cranes the Zhen Hua 23 was delivering to Felixstowe dock cost about £12million and can lift 85 tonnes.

The ship has since been moved across the port to Trinity terminal where it successfully unloaded the three new cranes.

“She'll be sailing for Thamesport later this week to deliver the fourth crane on board,” Mr Davey said.

The damaged cranes now have to be cut up, removed and replaced.

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