No sign of oil leakage after crane falls

SHAWN MCAVINUE
Last updated 11:33 09/08/2012
Crane falls at harbour

This 50-tonne crane toppled yesterday at the southern end of Freshwater Basin in Milford Sound about 2.15pm.

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LATEST: There is no sign of oil on the water near the site of the capsized crane in Milford Sound this morning.

Environment Southland Regional On-Scene Commander Dallas Bradley said the crane that capsized on a barge in Freshwater Basin yesterday had not moved overnight and there was growing confidence that the situation was stable.

Mr Bradley said another boom was being deployed this morning as a precautionary measure, in case of any potential oil leakage.

Two Environment Southland staff members and two Port Maintenance staff from Bluff were on the scene to help, he said.

The owners of the crane are working on a salvage plan to remove the crane.

Maritime New Zealand is investigating the incident, Mr Bradley says.

The 50-tonne crane toppled yesterday during work to enlarge Milford Sound's main harbour and improve safety.

Milford Sound Development Authority manager Andrew Welsh said the crane, which was on a barge, fell on its side with the driver inside at the southern end of Freshwater Basin in Milford Sound about 2.15pm.

All staff, including the driver, were uninjured, he said. About 15 staff were working on the $6 million harbour redevelopment yesterday.

The site would remain closed until the Labour Department investigated the accident further, he said.

No oil had leaked in the harbour yesterday and no cruise operators would be affected by the overturned machinery.

Despite the site being shut and the project losing a week of work, it was still on track to be finished by the end of September, Mr Welsh said.

Mr Bradley said yesterday about 200 litres of diesel and 24 litres of engine oil were believed to be in the crane and 1600 litres of hydraulic oil in a power pack on the barge.

Cruise operator Southern Discoveries owns 49 per cent of the development authority.

Last month, Southern Discoveries general manager John Robson said the redevelopment of the harbour would not mean more operators in Milford Sound but would provide better access and safety for existing operators.

The size of vessels had increased over time and there was a need to improve facilities and make the wharves bigger, Mr Welsh said.

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