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On the evening of 20 June 1984, the Port of Melbourne Authority's hopper barge Charles H McKay was proceeding from the spoil ground to Appleton Dock. The Master was keeping the barge to the west of the Port of Melbourne Channel, on a northerly heading.

The Panamanian cargo ship Yue Man had sailed from Victoria Dock, bound for sea under the direction of a Port Phillip Sea Pilot & passed Breakwater Pier as Charles H McKay was approaching the Pier from the south.

The two vessel collided westward of the dredged channel, the bow of Yue Man striking the hopper barge on its straboard quarter. Charles H McKay settled on the bottom within five minutes of the collision, while the Yue Man suffered only minor indentation of plating.

No lives were lost, but four crew members aboard Charles H McKay received minor injuries.


The Pilot of Yue Man & the Master of Charles H McKay made assumptions as to the intentions of the other &, acting on those assumptions, failed to take the proper precautions as required by the Colregs or the ordinary practice of seaman.

The apparently common practice of light draught departing vessels leaving the channel beyond Breakwater pier, & of some hopper masters coming up the channel from behind the seaward side of the pier, is hazardous.

The use of separate radio channels by different classes of ship to communicate movements to Harbour Control, & the absence of requirements for Port Authority vessels to report their positions & intentions in good time, were contributory factors to the casualty.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 423KB]
General details
Date: 20 June 1984 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: N/A  
Location:Melbourne Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria Occurrence type: Collision 
Release date: 01 December 1984  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: Minor 
Vessel 1 details
Vessel: Yue Man 
Flag: Panam 
IMO: D51337A 
Type of Operation: General cargo vessel 
Damage to Vessel: Nil 
Departure point:Port Phillip Bay, Vic
Departure time:N/A
Vessel 2 details
Vessel: Charles H McKay, D315412 
Flag: Aus 
Type of Operation: Barge 
Damage to Vessel: Destroyed 
Departure point:Appleton Dock, Port Phillip Bay
Departure time:N/A
Minor: 4004
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Last update 18 May 2016