Fire at Aker Philly

Authorities appear to have contained a blaze that broke out at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard early Wednesday morning.
The cause of the crane fire, which is believed to have involved the 'Goliath' (pictured here), is unclear.

The cause of the crane fire, which is believed to have involved the 'Goliath' (pictured here), is unclear.

According to local media reports the Philadelphia Fire Department was called to the scene when a crane caught fire at around 7:30 am.

Officials confirm that at least one worker was rushed to hospital but have not revealed the extent of this individual’s injuries.

Several Philadelphia news outlets claim the victim was transported to the burn unit at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, Pennsylvania.

It is believed that a second worker who was trapped inside the crane when the blaze first broke out has since been freed and is said to have escaped with only minor injuries.

Based on aerial photographs taken by a local news helicopter it appears that the incident involved Aker Philadelphia’s Goliath gantry crane.

Since the extent of the damage is not yet known one reputable industry source tells TradeWinds that it’s far too early to determine whether the incident will have a significant impact on the timetable attached to any of the shipyard’s current projects.

At last check Aker Philadelphia’s newbuilding backlog included four products tankers penned by Crowley Maritime, a pair of Matson Navigation containerships and two aframaxes ordered by ExxonMobil affiliate SeaRiver Maritime that are due for delivery this year.

One of the shipyard’s top executives, Scott Clapham, is scheduled to speak at a networking lunch hosted by the Society of Marine Arbitrators at the Yale Club in Manhattan Wednesday afternoon but it’s unclear if today’s incident has impacted his plans.

Aker Philadelphia is one of only two US shipyards that are active in the construction of bluewater tankers. Like General Dynamics NASSCO, the shipbuilder has benefited from the shale oil revolution and the subsequent spike in demand for Jones Act products carriers.

The Jones Act, or Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a cabotage law that protects the nation’s shipping industry from foreign competition by requiring that coastwise commodities shipments are performed by vessels that are US built, US flagged, US crewed and US owned.

Update: Later in the day an Aker spokeswomen said only one employee was injured and claimed that the burns to the lone victim were caused by an electrical explosion and not a fire. Click HERE to read more...

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