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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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