Crane Falls at Popular Cruise Ship Construction Shipyard

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In a sudden event that could have had potentially severe implications, ship’s construction workers at the iconic Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard, based in St. Nazaire, France, experienced a narrow escape. 

Known for building some of the world’s biggest cruise ships, the shipyard witnessed a startling scene as a towering crane came crashing down, showing the ever-present risks associated with the shipbuilding industry. 

A Close Call at Chantiers de l’Atlantique

Workers at the world-famous Chantiers de Atlantiqu shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, narrowly escaped disaster this week. 

An incident occurred on Wednesday, June 7, when one of two service cranes detached from the very large gantry crane and plummeted approximately 80 meters below.

The fall took place around 6:45 pm, resulting in a scene as noisy as it was startling, according to the French website 20 Minutes

These days, cruise ships are constructed mainly by combining several huge metal blocks, which are then welded and connected. The red-and-white gantry crane, a well-known fixture at the shipyard located on the banks of the Loire River, is responsible for transporting the massive blocks of ships under construction.

Chantiers de l'Atlantique Shipyard
Chantiers de l’Atlantique Shipyard (Photo Credit: olrat / Shutterstock)

Chantiers de l’Atlantique confirmed the incident, stating that the cause of the detachment is “unknown at this time.” An internal investigation has been initiated to discern the cause of the mishap.

Meanwhile, the very large gantry crane has been secured, and operations continue on the second high gantry crane at the shipbuilder’s disposal.

The accident that unfolded on Wednesday could have had dire consequences. However, thanks to fortunate circumstances— most works had been completed for the day— the workers at Chantiers de l’Atlantique escaped unscathed. Work at the shipyard has since resumed. 

As the shipyard progresses with its investigation, it serves as a reminder of the inherent risks involved in constructing the ships that are inherently associated with fun and vacations. It also brings back memories of a similar incident in 2019 in the Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship at Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard
Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship at Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard

In 2019 a construction crane came crashing down on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, resulting in eight reported injuries and significant damage to the Oasis-class cruise ship during dry dock at the Freeport Grand Bahamas shipyard.

Thankfully, none of these injuries were life-threatening, and no guests were onboard. Royal Caribbean International was forced to cancel three cruises due to the sustained damage.

Which ship the crane was working on at St. Nazaire during the accident is unclear at this time.

Current and Future Projects

Chantiers de l’Atlantique, a well-known pillar in the shipbuilding industry, is currently involved in several notable construction projects involving some of the world’s biggest cruise ships

The shipyard is constructing the Utopia of the Seas for Royal Caribbean International, which upon launch in 2024, will be the sixth ship in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class and one of the world’s largest cruise ships, at 231,000 gross tons.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship at Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard
Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship at Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard

Other ships under construction include Ilma for Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection and MSC World America for MSC Cruises, both set to launch in 2024.

Moreover, future projects include the fifth yet unnamed Edge-Class cruise ship for Celebrity Cruises and Luminara, the third superyacht for Ritz-Carlton set to be delivered in 2025.

The shipyard is also scheduled to build a third and currently unnamed World-Class cruise ship for MSC Cruises, projected for completion in 2027.

Just last week, the shipyard delivered the Meraviglia Plus-class MSC Euribia for MSC Cruises, which undertook the first-ever zero-emission voyage between St. Nazaire and Copenhagen, Denmark. 

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