Here’s a useful tip. If you’re going to be loading heavy things onto a barge, you better make sure it can handle the weight. If only someone was around to tell these guys that, they could have avoided this costly construction accident. The elements in play here are a barge, a Manitou telescopic handler, and a Volvo wheel loader. The wheel loader is basically anchoring and steadying the barge by way of a rope before it heads out on its journey. But the barge with telescopic handler in tow doesn’t make it very far before that journey is over.
The Volvo Wheel Loader Acting as Anchor
It’s actually quite a beautiful scene here. The water is crystal clear and you see some nice scenery with a small village on a hill. But you’re not here just to watch the scenery. You want to see a fail! So let’s start with the loader. It’s on the sea bank with a rope attached to the back right side of the barge to keep it anchored. The front loader is able to handle this task with ease, as it has plenty of weight along with differential locks and heavy-duty tires with good traction. This Volvo wheel loader is likely an L30G, which has the following specs:
- Operating weight of 12,125 pounds
- 71-horsepower engine with 195 lb.-ft. of torque
- Top speed of 19 mph
- 9 Feet tall and 14 feet, 8 inches long (without bucket attached)
Is the Barge Big Enough?
Everything seems to be fine while the rope is attached to the barge. It looks to be stable and secure. The rope is then removed from the wheel loader and its job is done. But, as the tug boat pulls the barge away, it begins to tilt a bit to one side. At this point, you might be questioning if the barge is capable of handling this weight. Maybe it will straighten out, but it is a precarious situation for sure. We don’t know the weight capacity of the barge, but we do know that the telescopic handler is a good 30,000-40,000 pounds. By barge standards, this one is very small, as a typical barge used for heavy transport can handle about 1500 tons of cargo and measures about 195 by 35 feet. Maybe the barge can handle that weight, but another factor to consider is whether the load is balanced enough on both sides to prevent tipping.
The Manitou Telescopic Handler: A Big Machine that Isn’t Cheap
This piece of machinery that looks to be too much for the barge to handle is a Manitou telescopic handler. Also known as a telehandler, this machine is a combination of crane and forklift and is typically used to move loads that a forklift can’t reach. In the place of pallet forks, it can also be fitted with a bucket, winch, crane jib, or muck grab. There are rotating and non-rotating telehandlers, but this one is the former. We don’t see what model it is, but an educated guess would be that it’s an MR 2150, which has these dimensions:
- 22′ 6″ long, 8′ 1″ wide, and 10′ tall
- Unladen weight of about 39,000 pounds
- Total reach of about 50 feet
Those are the measurements that are playing a role here, but you may be interested to know some of it’s performance specs as well:
- Diesel engine with 156 horsepower
- 4WD with 3 steering modes
- Max lifting capacity of 11,000 pounds
- Max speed of about 22 mph
Unfortunately for the crew, a telehandler is anything but cheap. Even for a used one, you are looking at a cost of over $100,000.
Are They Insured for Water Damage?
Here’s hoping that this machine is insured for damage. A machine that becomes submerged in water will likely need to be disassembled and then rebuilt. Unfortunately, saltwater is more damaging to engine and other components than fresh water. Along with the interior, the engine, fuel system, and braking system will usually need extensive repair. This incident took place in Greenland, so the water would be very cold also. Cold water presents a danger because it could become diluted, freeze, and then crack the engine block.
It would certainly be interesting to know how much this barge is capable of carrying. Maybe the problem wasn’t so much the weight but that it wasn’t balanced enough. What do you think? I guess the good news here is that this happened near the bank and not on open water!
(Sources: 1 | 2)