Call for safety checks after dramatic failure of turbine at Zeebrugge

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The dramatic failure of a Turbowinds 600 kW in the Belgian port of Zeebrugge in August has so alarmed the Bruges city council that it has demanded a safety check on all wind turbines in its area. The Turbowinds failure appears to have been caused by a loose oil pipe, according to a report presented to the council by alderman Jean-Pierre Vanden Berghe. With the resulting loss of oil pressure, the braking system failed and the machine ran out of control, shedding all three blades. These flew some 100 metres, though missed the neighbouring LNG terminal on the eastern harbour wall. Owner of the stricken machine, Aspiravi, reports that it has checked all 32 turbines that it operates, including a further ten Turbowind units, all of which have been given a clean bill of health. From Turbowinds, which was responsible for maintenance of the machine, Alec Overdick says it is still too early to draw conclusions. "This is just one of a number of reports that have been commissioned on the accident and I need to see all the details before I can comment," he says. Human error may have been to blame, he adds.

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