Cromarty Archive

Crane accident in Nigg graving dock - c1980

Crane accident in Nigg graving dock - c1980

Date Added: 26 April 2004 Contributor: Ronald Young Year: 1980 Picture No: 778

2 Skyhorses and a Manitowoc in pieces whilst lifting a pile in the graving dock at Nigg.

Albums: Oil Industry


I remember that Ronald, I was one of the few female welders at Nigg, and was in shop 2 in the sub arc squad when that happened. We heard the crash over the internal noise, how nobody was killed I'll never know. Comment left on 07 May 2004 at 22:22 by Sue Florence
I was travelling along the top of the dock in my forklift and I actually saw the Skyhorse lift into the air, I couldn't believe what I was seeing as I couldn't hear anything with the noise of my engine. It was unbelievable! Comment left on 01 September 2005 at 12:59 by Roy Thomas
Was there another accident involving a few cranes earlier than 1977? I was on a supply ship in Amsterdam in 1977 and we had an Indonesian Manitowoc Guy had to drive one of their cranes off our stern onto a barge as there was not a crane in that particular doc big enough to lift it off us. He told me he had supervised the lifting out of cranes which had toppled into the dock some time prior to this. Comment left on 05 September 2005 at 01:17 by Pat Swanson
This incident happened in1974, I was a shotblaster on site. It happened on the night shift and the site was evacuated. Comment left on 03 November 2005 at 19:39 by Ron Thomas
I remember an incident involving an American 11250 crawler being turned over when lifting a pile. The crane was, I believe, repaired on site. I worked in the accounts office at Nigg at the time, around 1974. Comment left on 28 August 2006 at 14:23 by Denis Taylor
I remember this accident well. I have other photographs of this in my loft which I will extract and post to this site. I was involved with shipping handling at Nigg during construction of FC and FD jackets. From memory, no one was killed, just a couple of broken limbs. Wolf Pabst was in charge of the site on behalf of Brown and Root inc. Sadly Mr Pabst was killed in plane crash in Alaska sometime later. Comment left on 14 March 2007 at 16:53 by Brian Robertson
The cranes involved were 2 American hoist cranes both 11320 models...CS2 and CS3...CS2 on the right of the picture was rebuilt by HI Fab mechanics ..CS3 was so severely damaged (see picture ) she was shipped back to the States and the replacement was CS34 an 11320 model, the manitowoc involved was a 4000 model CS18, this crane was also repaired at Hi Fab, the collapse occurred during the construction of Highland 1 whilst one of the piles was being "Threaded " into the pile cluster, the Yard was cleared of personel apart from a team from Rigging and the Mechanical dept, owing to the fact that the Pile had landed on the dock Gate. This pile also damaged the boom on a Hydraulic Crane that was on a Wimpey Barge alongside the Dock Gate. Comment left on 03 May 2008 at 21:29 by Duncan Murray
Is this the 1974 incident? I worked there on Highland 1 at the time but thought there was only one Skyhorse involved. It was doing the same job as those in the photo. I have since worked with Barry Mallinson (sadly deceased) who drove a Sparrow's low-loader to take away the wreckage. Comment left on 24 May 2009 at 17:13 by Don Stewart
I think from memory, cs2 &cs34 were both 11250 sky horses, ex Nigg Cr Op Comment left on 30 May 2011 at 15:56 by Kenny Mackay
Was there an accident involving that gate, where a diver got killed? Comment left on 02 October 2012 at 13:47 by Alex Macleod
Yes there was a diver killed when checking the outside of the gate when the dock was being flooded. Seems he was drawn into one of the pipes by the force of the water. Not clear on dates or details but I remember it happening. Comment left on 03 October 2012 at 10:28 by Duncan Murray
I think it was in 1974 too. I was there as an NDT man end of 72 to 1976. I was in the graving dock and saw the incident actually happen but don't remember the number of cranes involved except I know at least one 'Sky Horse' was damaged. As I recall, it happened when one crane slewed across it's tracks. I know we had to leave the graving dock as a safety precaution as a small leak appeared in the dock gate. Comment left on 16 December 2014 at 20:30 by Alastair MacKenzie
The diver who was killed was called Mike Pickering. He was living at Easter Rariche farm at the time with his wife Jill. He was carrying out checks on the dock gate. Comment left on 20 May 2017 at 14:49 by John Mackenzie
I remember Mike Pickering . He’s was a young gentleman. I think he was 24 years old when this horrific accident occurred. I believe someone switched on the suction extraction inadvertently whist he was in the subsea dock area resulting in his death. Very sad . I remember him as an energetic young man. Lovely guy.
Comment left on 26 September 2021 by Brian Robertson
I was reading about the story of Wolf Pabst - my father was supposed to be on that plane but he stayed back in Alaska instead. Comment left on 11 December 2023 at 01:27 by Cindy Myers
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