Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Giant Cranes Enter San Francisco Bay Under Golden Gate and Bay Bridges

As the clock on the Ferry Building in San Francisco struck 9 am today, the red bow of a barge transporting three giant folded 253 ft cranes slowly glided into view heading towards the Bay Bridge.

A small crowd had gathered on the end of Pier 30/32 to watch the auspicious arrival of the three mega container cranes that had travelled from Shanghai, China, on a barge specially designed to be able to lower itself in water to pass under structures.

Like the Golden Gate Bridge under which it passed at 8.30 am.

'To me, it's amazing!' said Arthur, there with his wife, Beamer. 'I was just thinking about how they were able to build that crane and put it on a ship and have it come halfway around the world.

'For me to witness this is amazing. I can say I saw it come under the Bay Bridge!'

Arthur is no stranger to shipping events. A former Vietnam vet, he worked on rescue helicopters that flew around naval aircraft carriers as pilots were taking off and landing, ready to rescue any who unfortunately landed in the sea.

 'I'm looking at a lot of jobs for people,' he said, gazing in admiration as the Zhen Hua 15 slipped past making the passage under the Bay Bridge look effortless, but at the same time eliciting a breathless 'This is going to be close!' from one of the onlookers.

Around the barge was a flotilla of tugs and the US Coast Guard and in the air hovered three helicopters. Traffic on the bridge was halted.

The cranes, said Arthur, will make the loading and unloading of cargoes in the major Port of Oakland that much easier and quicker. Cargoes that include travel between the San Francisco Bay and the Far East, Australia, Canada, Alaska and other parts of California.

'I wouldn't mind being one of the operators on those cranes!' he added 'You're talking BIG money.'

How big?

'I would estimate at least $75 dollars an hour, and that's not counting overtime!'

For how the feat of transporting the cranes was accomplished, and facts and figures see next blog.

pics of cranes by Chris


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