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Shortly before 0200 Eastern Standard Time 3 September 1991, the Russian container ship Khudozhnik Ioganson, whilst on passage from Manila to Melbourne, was in collision with the Australian prawn trawler Zodiac off Cairns.

No persons were injured, but the Zodiac sustained damage to the starboard fishing boom, the deckhouse starboard awning and to the stem post.


It is considered that:

  1. The Khudozhnik Ioganson was proceeding at a speed commensurate with the visibility and traffic density.
  2. The Khudozhnik Ioganson was an overtaking vessel within the meaning of the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (Colregs) and had a duty to keep clear of the Zodiac, irrespective of whether or not the Zodiac was engaged in fishing, until finally passed and clear.
  3. The Master's actions of passing fishing vessels at a distance of 0.2 miles when in coastal waters were in accordance with common practice and not unduly hazardous when both vessels comply fully with the Colregs.
  4. Prior to 0145 the Zodiac was proceeding on a slightly converging course with that of the Khudozhnik Ioganson of around 148 degrees True.
  5. Had both vessels maintained their courses and speeds of prior to 0145 a collision would not have occurred.
  6. The Khudozhnik Ioganson maintained a straight and steady course until taking evasive action shortly before the collision.
  7. The Zodiac altered course to starboard at approximately 0146.
  8. The Master of the khudozhnik Ioganson did not ascertain that the Zodiac had altered course to starboard until such time as collision was unavoidable by the actions of the Khudozhnik Ioganson alone.
  9. The Master and Second Mate of the khudozhnik Ioganson failed to fully utilise the radars and the observed visual bearings and radar distances to ascertain the course and speed of the Zodiac [Rule 7(b) of the Colregs].
  10. After the collision the Master of the Khudozhnik Ioganson failed in his responsibility to ascertain whether the Zodiac crew had sustained injury and whether assistance was required.
  11. The Skipper of the Zodiac failed in his responsibilities by leaving the navigation of the vessel in the charge of an unqualified deckhand.
  12. The Zodiac failed to maintain course and speed as required under Rule 17(a)(i) (Action by Stand-on Vessel) of the Colregs.
  13. The Deckhand of the Zodiac failed to keep a proper lookout as required by Rule 5 of the Colregs and failed to ascertain that it was safe to alter course before doing so.
  14. Alcohol was not a contributing factor to the incident.
  15. Fatigue cannot be ruled out as having affected judgements prior to the collision.
  16. The glare of the working lights of the Zodiac was such as to obscure the navigation/fishing lights and therefore their display was contrary to Rule 20(b) of the Colregs.
  17. The siting of the Zodiac's all-round green and white lights on the same structure as the working lights was instrumental in their being obscured by the glare of the working lights. 
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[ Download PDF: 598KB]
General details
Date: 03 September 1991 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: N/A  
Location:Great Barrier Reef Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Collision 
Release date: 04 August 1992  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Vessel 1 details
Vessel: Khudzohnik Iagonson 
Flag: Russi 
IMO: 7533765 
Type of Operation: Container Ship 
Damage to Vessel: Nil 
Departure point:Russia
Departure time:N/A
Destination:Swanson Dock, Melbourne
Vessel 2 details
Vessel: Zodiac, FQAB 
Flag: Aus 
Type of Operation: Prawn trawler 
Damage to Vessel: Substantial 
Departure point:Townsville, Qld
Departure time:N/A
Destination:Cape Grafton, Qld
None: 0000
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Last update 18 May 2016