IPI assures crane secure; businesses express concern

Posted on Nov 09 2018


Super Typhoon Yutu not only leveled many homes on Saipan and Tinian but its 180mph winds also resulted in one of the construction cranes at the Imperial Pacific Resort construction site leaning slightly.

Among the tourist businesses near the crane are Serenti Hotel and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., ABC Store, I Love Saipan, and T Galleria. Serenti and Bubba Gump are directly underneath the leaning crane.

When sought for comments, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC assured that the public’s safety is their utmost priority and that they have secured the crane even before the typhoon.

“[IPI] maintains public safety as its utmost priority. The crane has been reinforced and verified by consultants, and safety experts. Crane technicians are expected to arrive and resolve the issue in the coming days,” IPI said in a statement to Saipan Tribune.

Business owners and employees who declined to be identified have expressed safety concerns about the leaning crane but Saipan Chamber of Commerce president Velma Palacios said their members have yet to inform them about the matter. “I do know there has been a general concern during the past storms on whether the cranes will remain erect.”

Public Works Secretary James Ada told Saipan Tribune that officials of the Building Safety Code Division had already checked IPI’s construction site once the all clear was given, citing also the safety of their personnel.

“We responded to them [IPI] already. IPI will be bringing in their professionals to assess the situation. That is already with [the BSCD] and IPI has already complied with the standards,” added Ada.

IPI senior vice president for special projects Viola Alepuyo said in a previous interview that they restrict the use of the cranes during days with strong winds and also not to encroach airspace.

DPW’s BSCD and their safety officers monitor the use of the tower cranes and a safety plan must also be in place during the installation of the required seismic brackets and hangers for sprinkler piping. The cranes are not used if it is raining and if there’s a strong wind advisory.

Ross Garcia Garcia

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