Of all the ships in world trade some prefer the sleek lines of a ocean liner while others prefer the mighty aircraft carrier or battleship but both vessels are too well known and commonplace to elicit true awe. One class of ship that does are heavy lifts. A bit of a chameleon, these ships look rather average while unladen but transform into true behemoths once they strap an oil rig, FPSO or crane to their backs.
It is for this exact reason that Maryland is closing the enormous Chesapeake Bay bridge tomomorrow, they are afraid the sight of a heavy lift vessel sailing by will cause traffic accidents.
Tomorrow, in preparation for the mega-ships which will soon pass through the newly widened Panama Canal, will receive a new set of four gantry cranes each capable of unloading the world’s largest container ships. The cranes are massive and will each tower 14-stories above the docks and will be capable of lifts weighing in at over 187,300 pounds.
Maryland bridge officials plan to halt traffic on the Bay Bridge for 40 minutes tomorrow afternoon while the ship carrying the four cranes passes beneath on the back of the heavy lift ship Zhen Hua 13. Let’s just hope they arrive in better condition than Rotterdam’s cranes did a few years back.
Here is video of these massive cranes in action.