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The fishing vessel 'TAMMY-R' departed Eden on Wednesday 18 April 1990 bound for fishing grounds off Gabo Island.

According to the crew, after some trawling the vessel completed its last trawl near position 37 56'S 149 56'E at approximately 0300 hours Eastern Standard Time on Thursday 19 April 1990. After boxing and stowing the catch, the Skipper decided to return to Eden in order to have a minor oil leak in the hydraulic steering repaired.

The Skipper set a course to clear Cape Howe and about half an hour later the trawler was apparently in collision with a merchant vessel and sank. The two crew members took to a liferaft, eventually being rescuedd by helicopter some seven hours later.


It is concluded that:

  1. The TAMMY-R sank as a result of a collision with another ship
  2. On the balance of probabilities TAMMY-R was in collision with METAL TRADER.
  3. The most likely time of the collision is considered to be within the period 0414 - 0421.
  4. The collision was brought about by the failure of TAMNY-R to give way to METAL TRADER crossing on the starboard bow.
  5. The Skipper of TAMMY-R was negligent in that he failed to ascertain the course of METAL TRADER and whether a danger of collision existed before handing over to the relatively inexperienced Deckhand.
  6. The Deckhand was negligent in that:
    a) he failed to ascertain that a danger of collision existed
    b) he failed to give way as required by Rule 15 (COLREGS) to a vessel crossing from starboard
    c) he failed to keep a proper lookout as required by Rule 5 (COLREGS).
  7. The Master of METAL TRADER did not stop to offer assistance to TAMMY-R as, at the time, he was apparently unaware that a collision had occurred.
  8. The Master of METAL TRADER failed to respond to the distress relays broadcast by Melbourne Radio as they were not received due to a fault in the ship's radio equipment.

    It is further considered that:
  9. As it is not possible to determine with any certainty whether or not the Officer of the Watch of METAL TRADER was in fact aware that the collision had occurred, either:

    (a) the Watch aboard METAL TRADER was inefficient with respect to
    i. keeping a proper lookout (COLREGS Rule 5) in that TAMMY-R was not observed visually or on the radar.
    ii. in that it was unaware that the ship had been involved in a collision,


    (b) the officer of the Watch was negligent in that:
    i. he failed to take necessary action to avoid collision as required by Rule 17(b) (COLREGS)
    ii. he failed to notify the Master that he had been involved in a collision; and
    iii. he wilfully ignored international conventions in that he failed to stop and render assistance to TAMMY-R.
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[ Download PDF: 606KB]
General details
Date: 19 April 1990 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0330 EST  
Location:SE Auatralia Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales  
Release date: 01 August 1991  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Vessel 1 details
Vessel: Tammy-R 
Flag: Aus 
Type of Operation: Fishing vessel 
Damage to Vessel: Destroyed 
Departure point:Eden, NSW
Departure time:N/A
Destination:Gabo Island, NSW
Vessel 2 details
Vessel: Metal Trader 
Flag: Phili 
IMO: 7633105 
Type of Operation: Bulk carrier 
Damage to Vessel: Nil 
Departure point:N/A
Departure time:N/A
Destination:Fremantle, WA
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Last update 18 May 2016