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At about 1830 local time on 1 September 1992, the Australian yacht Champers, while on a voyage from Gladstone to Tweed Heads, was involved in a collision with a ship in a position 18.5 miles east of Bustard Head.

The ship involved in the collision failed to stop and render assistance, and Champers, which was dismasted m the collision, was eventually assisted by the fishing vessel Star Track. After the mast and rigging had been cut free, the yacht was able to return to Gladstone under engine power.

As a result of the collision paint and rust from the unidentified ship fell on to the Champers deck.

An exhaustive check of shipping in the area found that only one ship was known to be in the area of the collision at the time, the Russian flag tanker Antares.

Although the tankers reported position at the time of the collision was at least two miles from the charted position of the yacht, samples taken from the paint and rust that had fallen to the Champers deck and samples subsequently taken from the hull of the tanker established that it was very likely that the samples had a common origin. It was therefore considered probable that the Antares was the ship involved.


It is considered that:

  1. Although the ship with which Champers collided was unidentified at the time and, although the evidence of the positions and the skipper's observations indicate the contrary, on the balance of probabilities Antares was the ship with which Champers collided.
  2. The combined visual and radar lookout by the Chief Mate and seaman on board the Antares proved inadequate, in that it failed to pick up the presence of Champers.
  3. The skipper of Champers failed to keep a proper look out, particularly in the known blind sector on the port bow caused by the yacht's sails.
  4. Had Champers carried a radar reflector at the masthead, this would have increased the likelihood of the yacht's detection by ship's radars.
  5. The carriage of the lights provided for by either 25(b) or 25(c) of the COLREGS would have increased the likelihood of visual detection of Champers.
  6. The VHF equipment on board Antares was deficient for the purpose for which it was intended under the SOLAS Convention.
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[ Download PDF: 1.04MB]
General details
Date: 01 September 1992 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: N/A  
Location:Great Barrier Reef Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Collision 
Release date: 10 June 1993  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Vessel details
Vessel: Champers 
Flag: Aus 
Type of Operation: Pleasure cruising 
Damage to Vessel: Substantial 
Departure point:Airlie Beach, Qld
Departure time:N/A
Destination:Tweed Heads, NSW
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Last update 18 May 2016