Working crane museum in Angola

By Laura Hatton28 February 2013

Manitowoc crawlercranes work at the yard in Angola

Manitowoc crawlercranes work at the yard in Angola

A fabrication yard in Lobito, Angola, has become a working museum, housing a series of old and new Manitowoc cranes.

The oldest crane in use is a Manitowoc 4000WV, which dates back to 1967. The newest is a Manitowoc 18000 built in 2011. The 18000 has a Max-er capacity-enhancing attachment that increases its capacity to 750 tonnes.

The smallest crawler crane on site is a Manitowoc 5500, built in 2006, which offers 55 tonnes capacity.

The cranes are owned by yard operator Sonamet, a joint venture between Subsea 7, a seabed-to-surface engineering contractor to the offshore energy industry, and Sonangol, a hydrocarbon company based in Angola.

Alexander Arsie, operations, yards and assets manager at Subsea 7, said, “We fabricate a lot of different and very large structures so we need adaptable machines that can be set up quickly and perform effectively.

“The cranes are challenged to work round the clock on all manner of lifts. They adapt well to the work. The older machines are put through their paces and manage to keep up with their younger, more modern colleagues.”

In total there are 13 cranes at the yard, all of which work 24 hours a day, six days a week, the company said. Work includes lifting 550 tonne loads to build and assemble oil platforms and other underwater and offshore infrastructures. The cranes are regularly used in tandem or in combinations of up to four to carry out the largest lifts, Sonamet said.

The cranes work with a range of boom lengths. The 18000 has the longest configuration, working with a 90 metre boom and 30 m fixed jib.

The full list of Manitowoc cranes working at the yard includes an 18000, a 16000, two 12000s, a 5500, three 4100VWs, three 4000Ws, a 4100W and a 3900WV.

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