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At 0505 hours local time on 21 February 1990 the Australian flag bulk carrier 'IRON KEMBLA', whilst on passage from Newcastle NSW to Tobata, Japan, collided with the Japanese fishing vessel 'KASUGA MARU' in a position approximately 4 miles WSW of Hino Misaki lighthouse in Kii Suido.

The fishing vessel capsized and one of the crew members lost his life.


  1. Had both ships maintained their course and speed as those for the period 0452-0459, the collision would not have occurred.
  2. The collision is considered to have been brought about by the KASUGA MARU altering back onto an easterly course after having first altered onto a northerly course, parallel to that of the IRON KEMBLA. This second alteration occurred almost simultaneously with the alteration to starboard (towards the east) by the IRON KEMBLA. The coincidence of the alterations made the collision inevitable.
  3. The KASUGA MARU was not exhibiting the correct navigation lights, either those for a power-driven vessel under way or those for a vessel engaged in fishing, as required by the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
  4. The Master of the IRON KEMBLA was correct in ordering an alteration of course to starboard when the KASUGA MARU was observed to alter course to port to run on a parallel course.
  5. The Master of the IRON KEMBLA was correct in advising the Japanese Authorities immediately after the incident that a collision had occurred.
  6. The master of IRON KEMBLA was correct in turning about in order to offer assistance to the crew of the capsized fishing vessel.
  7. The Master of IRON KEMBLA is considered to have been at fault in assuming the KASUGA MARU to be power driven and that he therefore had the right of way, when the lights reportedly observed were those required to be shown by a sailing vessel.
  8. The master of IRON KEMBLA could have prevented the situation developing by making an early, small alteration of course to port, to assist the small vessel to cross his bow.
  9. The Master of IRON KEMBLA is considered to have been negligent in that he did not make use of all of the navigational equipment available to him in conning the ship.
  10. The Master of the IRON KEMBLA is considered to have been remiss in not reducing speed immediately the capsized fishing vessel was sighted.
  11. The Bridge Procedure aboard the IRON KEMBLA were deficient in that the Officer of the Watch did not, as a matter of course, monitor shipping on the radar so as to assist the Master by keeping him informed of the distances of other ships, or by targetting other ships on the ARPA.
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[ Download PDF: 266KB]
General details
Date: 21 February 1990 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: N/A  
Location:Japan Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: International Occurrence type: Collision 
Release date: 01 October 1990  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: Fatal 
Vessel 1 details
Vessel: Kasuga Maru 
Flag: Japan 
Type of Operation: Fishing vessel 
Damage to Vessel: Destroyed 
Departure point:N/A
Departure time:N/A
Destination:4 miles WSW, Kui Suido
Vessel 2 details
Vessel: Iron Kembla 
Flag: Aus 
IMO: 8412455 
Type of Operation: Bulk carrier 
Damage to Vessel: Nil 
Departure point:Newcastle, NSW
Departure time:N/A
Destination:Tobata, Japan
Fatal: 1001
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Last update 18 May 2016