As a child I was always interested in who and how was lifting big things. I mean really huge constructions. Say, how do they put bridges over rivers? Some that looked like they were put together right at the site did not raise any questions, but some looked as if they were assembled somewhere at the factory and later just put in their place. But how were they put there? Or how are water turbines put in place? All lifting machinery that I had seen didn’t make any sense: they would not be capable of raising such huge things. I did hear about fright helicopter carriers but I could not picture them lifting bridges or turbines without falling down.
Years later I learned a lot about various methods to move practically anything regardless of the size. Nonetheless I’m still captivated by big mechanisms that can easily lift and move objects that are also humongous. All these mechanisms are nothing but extension of our own arms, a logical sequel of a digging stick, stone hammer, lever, etc. It started so simply, and has gone so far.
This picture shows a floating crane “Titan” lifting a passenger ferry Karrabbee in Sidney, Australia. During the traditional ferry competition one of ferries happened to… sink. Luckily it happened after all passengers had gotten off the board. So the organizers simply pulled the “Titan” to the site and picked up the ferry from the bottom. By the way, this thing actually floats itself too! Who knows, perhaps, if their catholic highnesses of middle ages knew of such machines in their time, there would have been fewer her majesty ships at the bottom of the see. “Titan” lifted Karrabbee in 1984. And in late 80s “Titan” sank itself when it was being towed from Australia to Asia during a storm or something. Don’t you just love this picture: “Titan” floating from Australia to Asia…
And this cutie is called “Yoshida”.
Doesn’t it look like one of those lovely monsters from Japanese movies? Say, Godzilla, Motra and such? Floating crane Yoshida was built by Mitsubishi heavy Industries Division. Its lifting capacity is 3700 tons with 925 tonns per each hook.
Here is a submarine hanging on its ropes as a fish on a fishing rod.
Here is a floating crane «Asian Hercules» puting down the famous Gateshead Millennium Bridge in New Castle.
«Asian Hercules» participated in dismantling of the world’s largest (as of 2002) gantry cranes “Kockums” and replacing it with the new one called “Hyundai”.
Here is “Kockums”, 128m high and capable of lifting 1,500 tons with rail track 175 meters wide and 710 meters long.
It was assembled in 1973-74. It stood in the shipyard in Malmo, in Sweden, and up till its dismantling it had participated in the construction of 75 boats and ships. For the very last time it was used in 1997 when it loaded the Oresund Bridge’s fundamental high pillars (see the picture below) onto a cargo ship.
By then the Kockums crane had significantly worn out. In the 1990s it was sold to Burmeister & Wain, a Danish company which soon became bankrupt even before the dismantling began. Thus the Kockums remained integral until 2002 when it was again sold to Hyundai Heavy Industries (a Korean company) for… (guess how much). One dollar! It was shipped thereafter to Korea as a historical object of interest. By the way, Koreans named it “Malmo tears”. The Swedes cried when saying goodbye to the Malmo landmark that served as a background to their lives.
The Koreans put a bright Korean thingamajig in the place of the previous crane loved by so many Swedes.
Some retro: 1951, floating crane “London Mammoth” is towing a steamer.
7500t Full Revolving Floating Crane. This name speaks for itself. It lifts 7500 tonns and spins like an ice skater. It is set on a floating platform which also has another crane of a smaller size and plenty of various hoists – just in case. This wonder is assembled in Shanghai by the Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery Co.
Seven and a half thousand tons – this is really a lot. I don’t think there are crane with bigger capacity. But we’ll keep looking.