By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

The Port of Port Orford, one of only five dolly docks in the world, had been closed for two weeks Tuesday due to a crane malfunction, according to Port Manager Steve Courtier.

Courtier worked with HEMR Industrial Contractors and port staff late into Monday night and said they had removed a problematic upgrade and reinstalled the old system.

We were able to lift and place a boat, he said. But he couldn’t open the port until the crane was inspected.

About 3 p.m. Tuesday, HEMR employees from Coquille inspected the crane and Courtier reopened the port.

Without the crane, the port was unable to place boats into the water or or pull them from the water.

On dolly docks, vessels are launched and retrieved using cranes and housed on dollies out of the water.

Courtier said the port serves about 50 commercial boats.

Commercial fisherman Roger Fry said Monday the crane had been down for 13 days when he spoke to port staff, and they couldn’t tell him when it would be fixed.

“No one can fish,” he added. “They have two hooks (cranes); the big one’s broken and the little one doesn’t work.”

Port Commission Vice President Bret Webb said, “There have been issues with equipment as we have undergone significant upgrades and modernization to the hoist.”

The upgrades resulted in intermittent mechanical issues beginning in November, according to Webb.

He said they would fix a problem and it would work for a while and then break again.

The crane continued to have issues because the source of the problems was actually an incorrect upgrade, Webb explained.

The proper parts have now been ordered, according to Courtier.

“We keep trying but keep getting wrenches thrown in the spokes,” Webb said.

Although the crane is working now, the fix is temporary and Courtier said the port is waiting on parts from Japan.

Neither Courtier nor Webb could say when parts would arrive.

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