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Crane & Gantry Collapse

We have a team of qualified engineers and scientists, who are experienced in investigating a wide range of maritime and offshore structural failures, including crane and gantry collapses.

Our material scientists, mechanical and structural engineers will gather evidence at the scene and carry out structural back-analysis, to investigate the cause of the collapse. We can mobilise rapidly to coordinate and oversee urgent surveys, can carry out the sampling of damaged components (if necessary), and organise any subsequent analysis in our laboratory, to assess why the collapse occurred. If our findings point to a materials failure, our material scientists consider whether the correct materials have been used, how the different component parts have been, or should have been combined to maximise the resultant properties of the material, and how those components are likely to behave in the chosen application and environment.

If you have experienced a gantry or crane-related incident on board a vessel at sea, or at port, and need an investigator to attend promptly, Hawkins has the resources to attend quickly and the expertise to provide robust root cause analysis. We can also assist with remediation and risk prevention advise.


We have the technical knowledge and experience to tell you why a crane/gantry collapse has occurred, by taking into consideration the specific mode of failure within the context of the incident.

  • We have an in-depth knowledge of the regulations and guidance, and material specifications that should be followed by competent engineers and technicians handling engineering materials and systems.
  • We review working practices and installations to identify areas at high risk of a fault.
  • We offer guidance and/or help you define and develop good working procedures and practices to reduce the risk of incidents occurring.
  • We provide you with the answers you need to determine why an incident occurred and so assist in repudiation / cover decisions and fraud identification.
  • Our experts are knowledgeable in a wide range of areas and can investigate all aspects of a materials failure, meaning that you will only need to instruct one expert, rather than several.
  • We have laboratories and equipment designed specifically to investigate materials failures, such as high powered stereomicroscopes.
  • We support subrogation/recovery efforts.
  • We help you to make decisions regarding where legal responsibilities/liabilities lie.
  • We help you to defend wrongful claims.
  • We produce reports suitable for Court and litigation.
  • We provide consultancy advice to prevent similar events happening again in the future.
  • If removing a risk entirely is unavoidable, we advise on steps to take to mitigate the risk and reduce the potential damage resulting from an incident.
  • We advise on servicing, maintenance and repair regimes.
A ship's crane lifting a train carriage ready for shipping
Metal wire rope fatigue

Examples of Typical cases

The list below provides a few examples of crane-related cases which we investigate regularly or have investigated in the past:

If you would like to discuss how we can assist you please fill out our enquiry form or call us for a free consultation. 




We like to speak to you before we conduct any work, to establish if we can add any value to the case. These discussions help us to understand your requirements, as well as determining how much information is already available, including for example, service records, first-hand witness accounts, photographs, and videos. We are also happy to provide you with an estimate of the cost of conducting a forensic investigation.



If required and with your agreement, we will arrange to visit the vessel, or attend at port, to inspect the reported damage.  Wherever possible, we will retain any damaged parts for examination and analysis at an independent, third-party laboratory so that we can assess the mode of failure using low and high magnification microscopy and if necessary, chemical and mechanical tests. We would endeavour to corroborate the materials failure side of a crane failure with any structural analysis.



Once our examination is complete, we will discuss our findings with you and prepare a report containing a detailed account of our investigation, conclusions, and where appropriate, further work or advice.


“Thank you for your superb effort in this case.”

Rhys Phillips


“Many thanks for turning out today at such short notice and providing the benefit of your expertise and knowledge. It was evident the Client was extremely relieved that this matter was being investigated expeditiously.”

Chaz Winterton

Crawford & Company

“I just wanted to say thank you for all your help and the information you found was of real insight. Thank you again for all your help.”

Stewart Hargreaves

William Strikes Ltd

“I just wanted to say thank you for all of your hard work preparing the Hawkins report. Please pass on my thanks to the rest of the team. We really appreciate the hours you have all put in and I know the client is pleased with your work.”

Philippa Jones

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Related areas of expertise

Marine Engineering

The maritime and offshore engineering industry encompasses a wide range of disciplines and any incidents or losses can be complex in nature.

Marine Fires

Fire investigation is one of our core competencies and our investigators are experienced in dealing with a wide variety of incidents, ranging from small accommodation fires to major engine room fires to cargo fires and explosions. We have dealt with several high-profile shipping and/or cargo investigations including MSC Flaminia, Glory Trader, Diamond Highway, MOL Charisma and SSL Kolkata.

Mechanical Engineering

Engineering failures of hardware can occur in almost any area, from domestic items to large commercial items, hardware used in industrial applications or factories. Failures could be structural, electrical or mechanical and may be isolated incidents or a repeat failure such as one which impacts across an entire transport sector.

Materials Failures Onboard Ships

Materials failure is the inability of a component or assembly to function properly, as a result of its integrity being compromised. The most common failure mechanisms are corrosion, fatigue, ductile/brittle fracture, hydrogen embrittlement, creep and wear.

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