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Summary

Summary

The Malinska, a Maltese flag bulk carrier of 34,752 tonnes deadweight, loaded a full cargo of manganese ore at the Groote Eylandt loading terminal from 23 to 25 April 1993.

While sailing from the port, the ship, which should have cleared via a narrow channel of deep water through a bank stretching southward southward from Connexion Island, grounded on Burley Shaol, 1.5 miles north of "the gap". Initial attempts to refloat the ship were unsuccessful and 1100 tonnes of cargo had to be off loaded before the ship was pulled off by tugs on 28 April 1993.

Conclusions

It is concluded that:

1. While proceeding towards "the gap", Malinska experienced a strong northerly set, and the position plotted on the chart by the Third Mate at 1820 was incorrect.

2. The Master of Malinska failed to use the radar to best advantage, failed to use parallel indexing or other radar monitoring method, and so was unaware that the ship was being set to the north.

3. The Master failed to fully assess the situation before altering course to starboard, placing undue reliance on the ARPA, mis-reading or misinterpreting the distance to the collision point, and failing to check the ship's position.

4. When Iron Carpentaria altered course to 145 degrees, to take the ship south of the recommended track, due to the strong tidal effect, a developing collision, or near collision, situation was created.

It is further considered that:

5. Even had Malinska not altered course to starboard and had maintained a heading of 232 degrees, because it had been set to the north, there was a strong possibility of the ship grounding on the bank to the south of Burley Shoal.

6. The bridge procedures on board Malinska were lax, in that there was no bridge management structure and no passage planning had been carried out.

7. Had the Mate been on the bridge for departure, instead of, as more traditionally, on the forecastle, the incident may have been approached with greater awareness and possibly avoided.

8. Alcohol cannot be totally ruled out as a factor that might have affected the Master's judgement.

9. The Master of Iron Carpentaria intended to keep clear of Malinska, to give that ship priority.

10. The actions of the Master of Iron Carpentaria were correct and not inappropriate.

11. Where an inbound vessel is to encounter a loaded outbound vessel in the vicinity of "the gap", it would be appropriate for the inbound vessel to standoff, so as to allow the outbound vessel to clear "the gap", before making the final approach.

12. A navigation aid, located either on Burley Shoal or on the northern side of "the gap", would have provided a visual reference for the Master, alerting him to the fact that the ship was being set to the north and that Iron Carpentaria was still to seaward of "the gap".

13. Before disembarking, the Harbour Master should have drawn the Master's attention to the northerly setting current and warned him of the danger of being set towards Burley Shoal

 
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