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In its preliminary investigation report released today, the ATSB describes the events leading to the accident involving the Panama-registered general cargo ship Tycoon on 8 January, and outlines the direction the investigation will be taking.

While Tycoon was moored in Flying Fish Cove at Christmas Island, an increase in wind speed and sea conditions combined with a failure in the ship's mooring so that the ship made contact with the adjacent rock-face and shore crane pylon. Despite attempts by crew to move the ship, it continued to hit against the rock-face and pylon.

A one-metre long hole was torn in the hull. This flooded the engine room and allowed oil and other pollutants to be washed into the sea. The crew subsequently abandoned the ship and were rescued by the Royal Australian Navy.

The following day, the starboard side of Tycoon's hull collapsed inward, exposing the contents of the hold to the sea. The wreck remains alongside the rock-face awaiting salvage.

The ongoing ATSB investigation will now focus on:

  • the actions of the Tycoon's master and crew and those of the port's operational staff
  • the failure of the port's permanent stern mooring arrangement and the design and maintenance of the mooring system
  • port operational procedures, guidelines and risk assessment
  • the condition of Tycoon and the adequacy of the ship's mooring equipment
  • Tycoon's safety management system and other on board guidance material.

A copy of the preliminary factual report MO-2012-001.

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Last update 02 February 2012

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Investigation report MO-2012-001


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