Canada’s Transportation Safety Board has issued a warning to shipowners regarding cargo-handling cranes in the aftermath of a “catastrophic” crane failure on a bulk carrier this summer in Quebec. TSB, which issued the warning in a November 24 news release, said the failure occurred August 13 on the bulk carrier Seaspace at the port of Bécancour. The slewing ring bearing on the ship’s cargo crane #4 “broke apart,” the news release said, “and the complete cabin and jib assemblies collapsed into a cargo hold, injuring the crane operator.”

TSB and Transport Malta’s Marine Safety Investigation Unit are investigating. Built in 2010, Seaspace, which has a deadweight tonnage of 56,894, sails under the Malta flag.

“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,” the news release said.

TSB has asked the International Association of Classification Societies to share information about the safety risk to vessel owners. However, no data base of those owners exists, TSB said.

Wuhan Marine Machinery Plant Co. Ltd. of China built the crane under licence for Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. (IHI) of Japan, according to TSB. “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).”

The Port of Bécancour is on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River near Trois-Rivières, about 150 kilometres from Montreal and Quebec City. Seaspace is among a series of 443 sister ships built at various Chinese shipyards between 2008 and 2014.

“Vessel owners should take whatever measures considered appropriate to ensure the integrity of any similar unit in service on board vessels,” TSB warned. The agency is calling on anyone taking measures to deal with such cranes to contact TSB by phone at 1-800-387-3557 or by email at