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On the afternoon of 9 May 1987, the bulk carrier River Embley, laden with a cargo of bauxite, was making an easterly passage through the Torres Strait at maximum draught. At 1700, the vessel grounded momentarily when to the south of the Alert Patches buoy, as a result of which the vessel sustained damage to the hull & flooded the forepeak tank & No 1 void space.

The vessel was taken to a safe anchorage, where temporary repairs were effected, to enable it to proceed to Gladstone to discharge the cargo.

No one was injured & no pollution resulted from the incident.


  • A detailed passage plan for the passage had not been prepared.
  • The Pilot had not briefed the Master fully on his intentions.
  • The ship's speed was excessive for the depth of water available at the time.
  • It would have been prudent for the Pilot to have made an earlier alteration of course.
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[ Download PDF: 994KB]
General details
Date: 09 May 1987 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1700 EST  
Location:Torres Strait Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Grounding 
Release date: 01 January 1988  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Vessel details
Vessel: River Embley 
Flag: Aus 
IMO: 8018144 
Type of Operation: Bulk carrier 
Damage to Vessel: Minor 
Departure point:Weipa, Qld
Departure time:N/A
Destination:Gladstone, Qld
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Last update 23 May 2016