Marine safety investigations & reports

Grounding of TNT Alltrans in the Great Barrier Reef

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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TNT Alltrans sailed from the Port of Gladstone, Queensland, at 2238 on 24 March 1985, bound for Bluff, South Island, New Zealand, with a cargo of alumina in bulk. The vessel cleared the fairway buoy at midnight, when the main engines were rung full away, course was set at 092° & the autopilot was engaged. The 12-4 bridge watch consisted of the Watch Officer & an AB as lookout.

The course lines drawn on the chart indicated a course alteration, to 101°, north of Bustard Head, this to take the vessel south of Lady Musgrave Island & then north of Lady Elliot Island.

At about 0340 on 25 March 1985, TNT Alltrans groudned at full speed on Lady Musgrave Island, the engine not being stopped until the change of watch at 0400.

TNT Alltrans was refloated, with tug assistance, on 26 March 1985, having suffered extensive bottom damage, but no pollution had resulted.


The grounding was directly caused by the failure of the Watch Officer to control the navigation of the ship over an extended period, from about 0030 on 25 March to the time of the grounding. Specifically it was brought about by his failure to alter course when off Bustard Head & also by the failure of the Lookout to appreciate that the ship was standing into danger.

A Court of Marine Inquiry (No 162) into the grounding was held at Sydney during June 1986.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 588KB]
General details
Date: 25 March 1985   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0340 EST    
Location: Great Barrier Reef    
State: Queensland    
Release date: 01 September 1985   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Vessel details

Vessel details
Vessel TNT Alltrans  
Flag Aus  
IMO 8125569  
Type of operation Bulk carrier  
Damage to vessel Substantial  
Departure point Gladstone, Qld  
Destination Bluff, New Zealand  
Last update 18 May 2016