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On 26 June 1991 the Manila Transporter sailed from dampier, Western Australia with a crew of 24 and a cargo of 103,001 metric tonnes of iron ore fines for Port Talbot, Wales.

On July 1991, the Master of the ship broadcast a distress message, stating that the ship was taking water in number 3 hold and that assistance was required. The Norwegian bulk carrier Berica responded to the message and rescued all 24 Filipino crew of the Manila Transporter, who abandoned ship in the lifeboats. The Berica then proceeded on passage as the Manila Transporter was believed to be sinking.

On 27 July 1991, the Singapore registered ship Algenib encountered the derelict Manila Transporter and attempted salvage operations. However, the Manila Transporter eventually sank on 7 August 1991.

The Australian Marine Incident Investigation Unit, in accordance with the International maritime Organization Resolution A440(XI) "Exchange of Information for Investigations into Marine Casualties" and under the provisions of the Navigation (Marine Casualty) Regulations, undertook an investigation of the evidence that was available within Australia to assist the Philippine Authorities.


From the findings of the investigation it is conclude that:

  1. The cargo was loaded in accordance with the Master's instructions.
  2. The cargo presented by Hamersley Iron for loading aboard the Manila Transporter was in accordance with the IMO Code of Safe Practcice for Solid Bulk Cargoes.
  3. There was no inherent characteristic in the cargo that made it unsafe.
  4. The loading rate of cargo was within rates normally experienced at bulk carrier berths.
  5. It is not possible to determine whether the proposed all hold loading would have prevented the subsequent hull failure.
  6. In view of the known loss of bulk carriers, two of which had sailed from dampier in 1991, Pilbara Harbour Services and West Coast Shipping should have ensured immediate delivery of the messages to the ship.
  7. With the condition of the ship on the morning of 7 July the Master was prudent in his decision to abandon the vessel once the Berica was in position to stand by the Manila Transporter.
  8. The discovery of the deficiencies in the lifeboat equipment during the Port State Control inspection and the rectification of the deficiencies before the vessel sailed from Dampier were instrumental in the successful outcome of the abandonment.
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