The failure of Alderney’s new £850,000 harbour crane twice in a matter of days has been branded a highly embarrassing situation by one Alderney States member.
The crane developed a fault last week and a temporary fix also failed – leaving food and other essential items unable to dock until a Jersey crane was borrowed and cargo could be offloaded on Sunday and Monday.
Alderney States member Alex Snowdon said that although he was grateful for the temporary crane, it should not have been necessary after such a recent and substantial investment in the new harbour crane.
‘This is a highly embarrassing situation for everyone involved, there needs to be a focused management plan,’ he said.
The island’s General Services Committee called an emergency meeting yesterday to try to get to grips with the urgent issues surrounding the failure of the crane.
The committee agreed to hire the Jersey crane for another week until next Tuesday at a cost of £2,000 a day.
An engineer from the new crane’s English suppliers, Hassels, arrived in the island yesterday and two more are flying in today to try to provide a successful, longer but still temporary fix to the crane while waiting for a new part to arrive.
Committee lead Boyd Kelly explained that, like cars, much of the inner workings of the crane were electronic and required sophisticated software and experienced engineers to diagnose and fix issues through computers.
‘It is extremely frustrating but out of our hands really,’ he said.
‘The crane needs a new part – a “wiring loom” and we don’t know how long it will take to get that part.
‘The main positive is the food will keep coming and the island remains open.
‘I must say I am proud of the island in a crisis. The teamwork has been outstanding – the shops have stayed open longer to provide for their customers, the harbour staff have worked tirelessly to off-load cargo from the ships and everyone else have really pulled together and worked really hard.
‘The new crane is under warranty and we have put our insurers on notice of claims.
‘I can see the Crown Advocates getting involved too, as we try to get back some of the costs involved with keeping the island stocked.’