​​​Thorco Basilisk before crane wire failure.​

​​​Thorco Basilisk before crane wire failure.​

Crane Wire Failure on Cargo Ship Thorco Basilisk

What Happened

​On July 23, 2022, about 1440 local time, the cargo ship Thorco Basilisk was discharging cargo at the Greensport Terminal on the Houston Ship Channel in Houston, Texas. While off-loading a wind turbine component, the hoisting wire rope on a shipboard crane failed, causing the component to drop onto the vessel’s cargo hold tween deck. No pollution or injuries were reported. Damages to the ship and the component were estimated at $3–5 million. 

What We Found

​We determined that the probable cause of the failure of the hoisting wire on the cargo ship Thorco Basilisk’s crane was undetected corrosion and wear in strand wires.​

Lessons Learned

​​​Maintenance of Wire Ropes

Saltwater and humid ocean air cause corrosion of metals, presenting challenges for the maintenance of high-strength steel wire ropes on vessels. A deteriorated wire rope directly affects a crane’s ability to safely and reliably handle loads up to the crane’s rated capacity (safe working load). Therefore, diligent inspection, maintenance, and management of wire ropes are essential. Working wires should be changed at recommended intervals, or more frequently, depending on operating conditions and use.  ​