PHOENIX — When an insurance company wanted to know the risk of moving an 8-million-pound, $100 million machine across 22 miles of northwestern New Mexico, it called Michael Logue, a marine surveyor who lives in the Rogue Valley.
Logue, who frequently demystifies his work for reporters and others, assessed the risks when Peabody Energy, the world's largest private coal producer, relocated its dragline with a new method last November.
Logue monitored every step of the 12-day move.
"I do have to explain what I do quite often," said Logue, one of about 60 surveyors who work around the world for London-based CSL Global.
Marine surveyors emerged about 250 years ago in London, when Lloyds was formed to insure cargo moving around the world. Surveyors inspect the seaworthiness of ships, but the discipline includes all aspects of moving and storing goods and equipment at sea, on land or in the air, all of which is referred to as marine cargo.
CSL investigates and reports on either the risk insurers are taking or on the damage claims that businesses will file with insurance firms.
Logue lives in Phoenix because his wife's family is in the area, but he can operate from almost anywhere for his on-call job. While he began his career in England, he has lived in the U.S. for 12 years, the last six in Southern Oregon. He studied at the University of Liverpool to become a surveyor.
About half of Logue's time is spent working with insurance purchasers who are filing claims. Logue substantiates damages or losses.
"Shipping is dynamic because when stuff gets moved, stuff happens," says Logue. "There's damage, ships going down, cargo containers going overboard. A company purchases cargo insurance because they see risk they want to mitigate."
At other times, Logue does risk-management or loss-control work for insurers. Logue looks at shipments from beginning to end to determine where problems can arise, then he advises the insurers, who use his reports to help set costs.
For the Peabody move, the insurer had Logue validate that the plans were safe and reasonable, and the move could be done. It was the first time a dragline had been moved on a modular, self-propelled platform. The rig has 150 four-tire axles. NASA used a similar machine to move the space shuttle. The dragline, used to expose coal seams, has a bucket that could hold five Volkswagens, and a 300-foot-long boom.
The platform and dragline moved at 2 mph over a 54-foot-wide regraded surface on private land.
"The whole plan is to get this from A to B safely, so everyone's interest converges," said Logue. "My job is to facilitate all those desires."
Aside from 15 blown tires and a few broken hydraulic connections, the dragline move went as planned and took less time than the monthlong conventional method.
Logue has worked with a couple of local firms, whose identities he cannot reveal. One involved an insurance claim by a local fruit warehouse when refrigeration failed. He also surveyed transport of a turbine from a Klamath County power station to Indiana for repairs.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Logue spent eight weeks in the New York City area working 12- to 15-hour days with six other CSL surveyors to validate marine cargo insurance claims ranging from retail goods to commodities.
Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.