Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Forklifts can't swim

I learned something yesterday... apparently the cardinal rule for forklift drivers is that you ALWAYS get into the vehicle before touching anything or turning it on.   Sometimes... generally... rules are meant to be followed, and are there for a reason.  

I was enjoying a quiet afternoon in the Starbucks cafe onboard.  (Sitting and reading/chatting with a good friend)  When suddenly we heard an odd bang/scrape.  I can't actually remember exactly what we heard, but we also kind of felt it, and it was definitely out of place.  So I leaned back to look out the window and see what was going on.  And I saw... the metal fence that normally runs along the edge of the dock was now leaning against the boat.  Odd.  I moved so I could plaster myself against the window and see more of what was happening near where the fence touched the boat... and realized there was a FORKLIFT leaning against the side of the boat.  NOT good.  I announced to those around me what I saw, and suddenly half the people are trying to see out the windows.   I'm already moving away from there towards reception, trying to think who needs to be told (and wondering if maybe it's already in the works) when my friend Brenda pipes up with "should we call for the emergency response team?"  Good thought.  We both head towards reception.  
The captain was moving a lot faster than me though, and crossed paths with me, already on his radio and in charge of things.  I took a quick gander off the gangway... and was promptly shoo-ed off since they wanted to keep things clear.  But it was long enough to see that the forklift had no one in it... phew!  Big relief!  Moving back in, I miss seeing the attempt at pulling the forklift backwards which unfortunately coincided with the ship moving slightly, and the forklift landed in the murky depths between the dock and the ship.  Within minutes, the dive team was already assembling.  I will say this, the people here are ON THE BALL!!!!

Having ascertained there was really no use for me, and knowing this could be very interesting, I found a good spot to watch from the 7th deck!  The forklift in this picture is not working.  The people are looking down at the spot where the other forklift tried to swim, aka: disappeared.

 Eventually, the dive team took a leap (a ways away from where the forklift went down, because they had no idea how or where it landed.  Safety first!!)

The broken forklift was in the way, so it got dragged to a new location more off to the side.  Thank goodness for all these 4x4 landrovers!

The port authority must have been called, because they got the Terex (pronounced like the dinosaur, but bigger in size) in!  These things are some of the most dangerous things (to people trying to walk or drive around the port) in the area.  They are used for moving and stacking containers, are absolutely massive, and are something we are all careful to give a wide berth to.  

Lots of people, biggggggg machine, beautiful sunset, what more entertainment could you want?

Wild hair thanks to a bit of wind... (or so I like to claim), hanging out with a great friend (Lycia) after supper, 2 hours into the saga of the drowning forklift.  Up on the 8th deck, with an amazing view!

Looking down at other friends who were also enjoying the spectacle (Hi Amy and Brenda!!!)  Not a just a few prayers went up for the safety of the divers through the 2 hours we watched.  
The sun went down, the divers were tired and the Terex couldn't connect well enough to the forklift, so everyone took a break for the night.
I worked during the day, and took a late morning break.  As I walked upstairs, I noted people were once again plastered to the windows (NOT a common occurence) and asked if they were making any progress, only to be told they were lifting the forklift now.  So I ran down two flights of stairs to grab my camera, and back up 4 flights to the 7th deck to grab some pictures.  

And got there just as the crane was setting down the forklift.

A crowd had gathered to watch the event.

The very dirty, somewhat bent forklift.  The guy I was chatting with at this point figured maybe this was the futuristic look for forklifts?  Sleeker, smaller, lifts at an angle.  You can also see the fence they pulled out of the mud sitting beside it.  
Having chatted with one of the divers who went down for the forklift, it was apparently 30 feet of water, and they found nothing, then realized they'd have to dive into the silt.  The top of the forklift was about 5 feet deep in the silt.  
And as much as it was an entertaining thing to watch... I can't help but think of the miracles... that no one was in the forklift when it plunged... that the divers weren't harmed in any way, even though there were a hundred reasons why this was a dangerous dive... that the ship doesn't have a hole in it... and many more.


Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan said...

Good thing no one was hurt!!

And wow, the ship must be huge. Have you posted a picture of the ship and I have just missed it??

Frances said...

When dealing with heavy equipment like these, people ought to always be very careful with their surroundings.

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Good story which is a lesson as well.

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