Middle EastPorts and Logistics

Pilot in the spotlight as investigations continue into Dubai’s spectacular crane accident

Investigations are ongoing into Thursday’s miraculous crane collapse at DP World’s flagship Jebel Ali terminal. One giant gantry crane collapsed and another was nudged out of position when an 11,000 teu UK-flagged CMA CGM Centaurus boxship ploughed into the quayside at Jebel Ali’s Terminal One last Thursday. Incredibly despite the destruction that ensued, no one died, with just 10 minor injuries reported.

The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) confirmed to Splash that an investigation is underway.

“The UK registered container ship contacted the quay while berthing at Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates. There are no reported injuries or pollution. Damage has been sustained to the ship, the quay and two shore cranes,” a spokesperson for MAIB said.

Terminal operator DP World is assisting in the investigation and will remove the debris once investigators have concluded their research into the incident.

“The incident last week had some immediate impact operationally in the days following and during our weekend peak on Terminal 1 but this has normalised again and it is business as usual,” a spokesperson for the terminal operator told Splash today.

The accident, viewed more than 43,000 times on this site, has sparked plenty of debate among Splash readers with some suggesting the pilot was to blame given the angle of the ship as it approaches the berth. Others have questioned whether the port operator had raised the crane boom as the 363 m long vessel came alongside.

The accident looks comparable to the Toba, a roro that made contact with the leg of a crane while berthing at White Bay, Sydney in 1997 in an accident that was subsequently blamed on pilot error.

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. Did the berth was made safe enough (SMS, port safety code) to let the vessel to come smoothly alongside ?

  2. You would think they have safety measures in place to AVOID this sort of accident. Guardrails people, Guardrails, look into em!

  3. the crane should not be there. there was no clear room for the ship to manouever wiht the bow safelly clear from obstructions. looks like a bad planning from berthing master regarding the location of the cranes and vessel berthing place. this is happening frequently with whatever type of vessels comming alongside in different type of terminals and land equipments.

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