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Dramatic Jebel Ali crane collapse caught on video

Splash has obtained an exclusive video of the remarkable moment a brand new giant gantry crane tumbled onto the quayside at DP World’s flagship Jebel Ali terminal in Dubai. Fortunately, no one died in the incident despite the massive crane falling onto trucks and scraping the side of a nearby building.

The accident happened last Thursday when the 11,356 teu CMA CGM Centaurus came into dock at Jebel Ali’s Terminal 1.

“While berthing, a CMA CGM container vessel collided with the harbour wall striking the leg of a quay crane causing it to fall,” DP World reported in an emailed statement sent to Splash today. A second crane was also shifted off its rails during the incident but remained upright and stable.

The incident resulted in one moderate and nine minor injuries, but no fatalities.

An investigation is currently underway to establish the cause of the incident.

The collapsed quay crane will be removed following all necessary safety procedures once the investigation has been completed, DP World stated. The second crane is under assessment for structural integrity and not in use until further notice.


Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Yes, you can see the ship drives right into the crane causing it to go down.

  2. It is all a human error, Thomas Timlen. Either the engineers, the builders or the manufacturers..
    It looks as if the operator’s cabin is in motion back to the portal, by the shadow one can appreciate a certain move.
    I am quite surprised no one got injured..

  3. Speculation as ever. Wait for the facts and investigation report. As for “Human Error”, JJmor is correct. Its all about how deep into the “Root causes” and not the immediate contributory factors that the investigation will dig into that will determine the actual cause of the incident.

    1. I think those drivers realized what was about to happen and got the hell out of the way

  4. Maybe ship lost engine and went to berthing without tugboat. Something similar happened at valencia port 4 or 5 years ago, but crane not finally collapsed.

  5. First thoughts go to the wounded and wish them a fast recovery. Its a miracle that the crane did not fall on the building. Than this was not an “if” issue but a “when” issue. Keep saving cost on purchasing 23 wide gantries and placing these at less than 3 feet from the quaywall.

    1. “Less than 3 feet from the quaywall” ? The aerial photo shows the quayside gantry rail to be more than the width of the container lanes, which must be more than 8.5 feet wide…. The closest I’ve seen a rail to the quay edge is about 5 feet amd Jebel Ali looks to have the rails well in from the edge.
      To avoid bow overhangs of the largest container ships being able to hit a gantry the rail would have to be at least 40 feet back from the quay edge, then the whole gantry would have to considerably larger to have the necessary 60m reach.

      1. You are right about the distance between the rails and the waterfront side which I estimate is at least 15 ft. But look at the crane structure between the rail mounted legs and the waterfront and see how close these come to the quayside. Than again in this case one has to admit that even with a larger space between quayside and gantry structure the accident was likely unavoidable.

  6. Before berthing, a pilot of the port embarks on board the vessel, so the investigation will determine whether the accident is the responsibility of the pilot or the crew of the vessel.

  7. After working on this terminal for 15 years this is unusual but possibly caused by pilot error (unlikely) or engine failure at the worse possible time. Not the first time engine failure has happened inconveniently but this time it happened to collapse a very expensive crane. Stay cool, plenty of expertise there. All will be revealed after an investigation.

  8. Gents, I hate to be a spoilsport, regardless of what the inquiry comes to, you can’t escape the fact that a ship of 128,000 GRT traveling at 1-2 knots has enough energy to smash nearly anything it impacts – including itself. The other inescapable fact is at low speed, a large ship cannot maneuver well – the tugs are there to ‘assist,’ not deflect.
    Let us all wish the injured Godspeed in healing.

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