Jump to Content



The Liberian flag tanker 'MOBIL ENDEAVOUR', fully loaded with petroleum products, grounded momentarily in the eastern approaches to the Torres Strait on 24 July 1986, whilst on passage from Singapore to Port Moresby.

The vessel suffered bottom damage in the grounding, however there was fortunately no pollution as a result. The vessel was able to continue her voyage to Port Moresby.

At the time of the incident, the vessel was proceeding without the services of a licensedd pilot, despite a recommendation of the Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization to the contrary.

The Maritime Safety Committee:

"RECOMMENDS that ships of 100 metres in length and over and all loaded oil tankers, chemical carriers or liquefied gas carriers, irrespective of size, use the pilotage services provided by the Queensland Coast and Torres Strait Pilot Service when navigating in the Torres Strait and inner route of the Great Barrier Reef area between Booby Island (latitude 10°36' south, longitude 141°54' east) and latitude 16°40' south or through the Great North East Channel, or Hydrographers Passage."

A Preliminary Investigation into the incident was conducted by Captain WA Chadwick, Chief, Investigation Division, Office of the Commissioner of Maritime Affairs, and published by the Republic of Liberia.

The Preliminary Investigation included Findings of Fact established by Captain DN Pritchard from Mobil Shipping Company Ltd.

The Federal Department of Transport Australia is grateful to the Republic of Liberia for permission to reproduce in full, in the interests of marine safety, the Report of the Preliminary Investigation and the Decision of the Commissioner of Maritime Affairs RL into the grounding of 'MOBIL ENDEAVOUR'. 


  1. The Proximate cause of the grounding of the MOBIL ENDEAVOUR was that the Master ignored the Passage Plan drafted by his Navigator, and followed the leading lights on the East Strait Island, which led him North of "East" buoy. He should have passed to the South of "East" buoy.
  2. The Master failed to calculate and allow for the effect of squat.
  3. The Master ignored the cautionary note on Aus Chart 293 that warned that "rocky outcrops occur in the channel between the patches".
  4. The Master failed to appreciate the 11 metre soundings recorded on Aus Chart 293 that he would confront on his intended track.
  5. The Master failed to heed the implied warnings by his Chief Mate and the Deck Watch Officer, when he confirmed that he intended to pass to the north of "East" buoy.
  6. The Master failed to employ a Torres Strait Pilot, which would have minimized the risk of grounding and pollution in an area of great ecological sensitivity.
Share this page Comment