Lloyd's Register has published a new pocket guide to help ship owners and operators understand the importance of professional maintenance and survey preparation for marine lifting appliances.

The new guide -- Survey and Examination of Ships’ Lifting Appliances -- is the latest in Lloyd’s Register’s series of pocket guides that have been produced in conjunction with the UK P&I Club and, in this case, with the crane manufacturers, MacGregor and Liebherr.

"Lifting appliances need to be thoroughly examined and it is important that operators understand the seriousness and consequences of failure, as well as what they need to do to support the safety framework," Joanna Townsend, Fleet Services Manager for Lloyd's Register, said. "Poor preparation before surveys is a common problem among operators. Other issues include a lack of knowledge about rocking tests, difficulties in obtaining maintenance records and problems accessing the key areas that need to be surveyed."

"These are key safety issues," said Townsend. "This pocket guide has been designed so that it is handy to use, inexpensive to produce and will be free to the industry. We highly recommend its use."

The rocking test is one of the most critical survey items, used to measure the wear of the slew bearing and related structures. Its excess wear combined with bolt failure can lead to a deck crane toppling over.

The guide offers technical guidelines for inspecting a variety of lifting appliances, including deck cranes, derricks, engine room and provisions cranes, and life-saving appliance davits.

When a lifting appliance fails the consequences can be serious, including death or serious injury and the potentially significant costs that result from a disruption of operations.

“Personal injuries to crews from breaking wires or a lack of maintenance on stores and cargo cranes hit P&I Clubs the hardest because personal liability claims can be very costly," said Karl Lumbers, the UK P&I Club’s Loss Prevention Manager. "The guide is a very good way to help address this."

Other problems identified during research conducted for the guide included a lack of preparation for surveys, difficulty in conducting the appropriate surveys and operators not having adequate understanding of the issues.

Its compilation was strategically supported by prominent members of the marine industry.

“Liebherr are proud to have been part of the Lloyd’s Register initiative to produce this pocket guide, which we are sure will assist in the on-going safe operation of cranes under LR survey worldwide,” said Tony Copeland, Quality Manager for Liebherr.

Gunnar Tjärnstrom, Quality Assurance Manager for the crane business line at MacGregor, said: "As a crane manufacturer and servicing company, MacGregor were happy to accept Lloyd´s Register's invitation to support the production of this pocket guide. This helps all parties to better understand each other’s demands and will therefore lead to safer operation of the equipment."