Marine safety investigations & reports

Grounding of Maritime Gardenia on Alert Patches, Torres Strait

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 18 August 1985, while on a laden, northbound passage through the inner two-way route of the Great Barrier Reef, the Liberian bulk carrier Maritime Gardenia grounded on Alert Patches, at the eastern end of Torres Strait. The Master had not engaged a licensed coastal pilot for the passage and, with the 3rd Mate on watch, the Master had absented himself from the bridge for about half an hour just before the grounding. The vessel suffered extensive bottom damage, four port double bottom ballast tanks & three centre double bottom fuel tanks being breached.


No allowance was made in the courses steered for the influences of the tide & the following sea.

The Master did not return to the bridge in sufficient time, in which to fully assess the situation, before the course alteration was due.

The 3rd Mate did not utilise all the shipboard & shore navigational aids available to him & did not sufficiently monitor the ship's position, so that the ship overshot the course alteration position.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 239KB]
General details
Date: 18 August 1985   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: N/A    
Location: Coral Sea    
State: Queensland    
Release date: 01 February 1986   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Vessel details

Vessel details
Vessel Maritime Gardenia D5237  
Flag Liber  
Type of operation Bulk carrier  
Damage to vessel Substantial  
Departure point Newcastle, NSW  
Departure time N/A  
Destination Penang, Malaysia  
Last update 18 May 2016