Here is some news from the two cranes of the St-Nazaire tidal basin thanks to this article, extracted from the well-known Ouest-France newspaper published the 23rd of march 2012.
Out of order since years, the “Quai du Commerce’s” cranes have been dismantled. A question of security.
The two cranes which proudly raised on the trade-dock, alongside the St-Nazaire Basin, have disappeared from the panorama. Four days have been needed to the enterprise “Séjourné” to tear down the cranes #65 and #66. The materials have been rescued and everything which is recyclable will be. These machines were exploited when the basin was a harbor, but since 10 years “they were no more used for the loading and the unloading of the merchant ships”, assured Gerard Etienne, Maintenance and Operations Director of the Port of Nantes Saint-Nazaire. “During some years, they have served for the crane driver’s training. But since five years, they are out of order”.
Without any maintain, the cranes have deteriorated themselves and became very dangerous to the port users and the strollers, especially while the festive events. "In a worry to insure the safety and because we don’t want to cancel the public access at the place, the decision has been taken to dismantle these".
Tintin in Saint-Nazaire. Picture from SN Tourisme & Patrimoine.
This article has been sent us by the President of the “Association Les 7 soleils” from St-Nazaire. This is a very active association which deals with the “passage of Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock in St-Nazaire”. Indeed, you should remember that in The Seven Crystal Balls where the three characters are going to search for the Cuthbert Calculus in St-Nazaire, then in La Rochelle and finally to South America in Perou (in the following comic book: Tintin and the Temple of the Sun). But we may wonder: what is the link through the first tidal basin’s cranes and the Hergé comic book?
In fact, one of these cranes on wheels located on the “Commerce dock” between the U-Boat Bunker and the cold store, are shown in at the page 58 of the comic book The Seven Crystal Balls. We now understand the sadness reaction of the Tintin’s fans, that we can read throughout this following article:
A feel a bit blue on the Saint-Nazaire harbor’s docks, after the disappearance of the two cranes. Filip, a 51′ old docker resident in “Le Petit Maroc1”, still remembers that “I began working on these cranes in 1982. This was our work instrument. We feel that a “Petit Maroc” patrimony is going away.” Jeannot a 47′ old docker also, admit that “it hurts the heart. I began working on these cranes at the age of 18′.” Filip adding that: “ Now we can erase the cranes on the Tintin’s signs”.
Jean-Claude Chemin, President of the Association Les 7 soleils (who was at the initiative to the installation of the Tintin’s signs), is also very sadden: “We have proposed this place, “Quai du Commerce”, to place the 6th fresco lining the Tintin’s, Haddock and Snowy passage at St-Nazaire; because the crane drawn by Hergé was similar to the one moving on the dock. As we says in the film industry we were in the continuity. Anyway, I’m terrified in giving the news to the Captain Haddock. I have bad feeling that he feels inconsolable.” According to Stéphane, the “Bar de la Marine” owner: “The cranes belonged to the patrimony of the harbor but we have to admit that they were not used anymore.
This is a translation of the local newspaper article: “Sale coup pour le Capitaine Haddock – Bad trick for the Captain Haddock”, published the 23rd of March 2012.
An other information about the passage of TIntin in St-Nazaire (44, France): click here.
1A neighborhood on the Port of St-Nazaire.