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On the afternoon of 25 March 1987, the Panamanian general cargo vessel Great Brisbane was south bound, on a course of 204°, off the southern NSW coast bound for Thevanard, SA from Brisbane, where it had bunkered on passage from Sasebo, Japan. A small fishing vessel was sighted off the port bow shortly before 1600 & was pointed out at the handed over of the watch.

The Australian fishing vessel Naomi maru was making a home run, the automatic steering set to a course of WNW magnetic. The Skipper observed a southbound vessel to the north, assessed that it would pass astern, then took no further interest in it.

At about 1611, the watch Officer aboard Great Brisbane sounded one short blast on the whistle & altered course to 250°. Alerted by the whistle, the Master went to the brisge & took over the conduct of the vessel. The fishing vessel continued to close & the two vessels collided at 1625, the fishing vessel sustaining damage to its bow. Communications were not established, Naomi Maru not being equippedd with VHF, but as the fishing vessel appeared to be all right, Great Brisbane continued on its voyage. Although taking in some water, Naomi Maru was able to proceed to Eden.


The collision was the direct result of Great Brisbane altering course to starboard.

The Watch Officer did not make use of the radar or other means to determine the risk of collision & made assumptions on scanty information.

On taking over, the Master did not assess the situation or take appropriate action to avoid collision.

The Skipper of Naomi maru made assumptions on scanty information & did not keep a proper lookout.

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