Problems encountered in securing tower crane at IPI site

Crane removal operation suspended anew since Monday due to bad weather

Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s chief engineer Eric Poon discusses ongoing operation to secure three standing tower cranes at IPI’s Imperial Pacific Resort project site in Garapan during the Commonwealth Casino Commission’s monthly board meeting at the Springs Plaza in Gualo Rai last week. (FERDIE DE LA TORRE)

Securing Tower Crane No. 6 at the Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s Imperial Pacific Resort project site in Garapan has been met with many problems, including high-speed winds, according to IPI chief engineer Eric Poon.

Poon said yesterday they are still working on removing Tower Crane No. 6; when that’s done, removal operation will follow for Tower Crane No. 5 and 1.

Because of this week’s bad weather, work on Crane No. 6 has been suspended again since last Monday, Poon said.

He said total removal operation will be done only on Crane No. 5.

For Tower Crane No. 6, IPI, through a contractor, is removing only the arms, and the jib-boom that is holding the counterweight. Tower Crane 1 will be re-inspected for removal operation.

Right now, there are three tower cranes at the site: No. 1, No. 5, and No. 6. Tower Crane No. 6 is the one facing the beach, while Tower Crane No. 5 is facing Joeten. Tower Crane No. 1 is inside the construction site.

Poon said their initial projection to finish everything for the removal of Crane No. 6 was last Nov. 19.

Last July 29, the Commonwealth Casino Commission expressed concern about the danger the three standing tower cranes at the construction site poses to business establishments and people, with no ongoing construction and especially during this typhoon season.

Last August, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona issued an order authorizing IPI to do whatever is necessary to secure the cranes.

At the CCC board’s monthly meeting last week, Poon said they have documented all the issues pertaining to the removal of Tower Crane Number 6 and submitted their weekly report to CCC.

Poon said they also spoke with the Department of Public Works about the status of the crane removal operation.

He said bad weather brought high speed winds, causing the suspension of the removal operation for Crane No. 6.

“So in the past two weeks, we probably stopped the operation four times already,” said Poon, adding that this is something that they did not anticipate in the operation that is now going into its fifth week.

With respect to Crane No. 5, he said they are going to finalize the draft plan for its total removal. Poon said the final plan will then be sent to DPW.

In his response to CCC executive director Edward C. DeLeon Guerrero’s questions, Poon said they have enough manpower for the removal operation and likewise have the proper equipment.

He said they had just purchased a special tool to remove or push the 16 pins of Crane No. 6.

Poon said what they usually do is just use a hammer, but for some reasons the pins will not come out so they had to find an alternative, which meant they had to buy a special tool.

He said they would probably be done already with Crane No. 6 if they did not encounter problems with removing the pins and bad weather.

“We are very confident that we can take out the pins. We’re very confident we can take down 6 and 5,” he said, adding that their workers are skilled.

“We cannot skip any steps. We have to follow every single step in order to take it down safely,” Poon said.

For the safety of the public, he said they do have a “signal man” every day on the ground so every time someone passes or any car would drive by, they’d be notified or stopped temporarily.

He said assigning a “signal man” is their safety procedures, along with their security guards.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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