Jump to Content
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 531KB]

On Saturday 17 June 1995, the Australian bulk carrier Iron Prince collided with the fishing vessel Pisces to the west of Cape Nelson, Victoria at 0644 Australian Eastern Standard Time. The weather at the time was clouded sky with passing showers and gale force winds with a heavy sea and swell.

Iron Prince was on passage from Hay Point, Queensland, to Whyalla, South Australia, with a cargo of coal. The bridge watchkeepers did not see the fishing vessel in sufficient time to take full avoiding action.

Pisces, engaged in gill net shark fishing, was lying at anchor in proximity to the western end of its streamed nets. No lookout was being kept, the crew being asleep and, as the anchor light had failed, the lights being shown provided less chance of the vessel being seen by ships approaching from well abaft the beam.

After the collision, Iron Prince turned about and escorted Pisces, which had sustained damage but was still able to proceed safely, to Portland harbour.

No one was injured in the incident and there was no pollution.


These conclusions identify the different factors contributing to the incident and should not be read as apportioning blame or liability to any particular organisation or individual.

  1. The manning on the bridge of Iron Prince was appropriate and the visual lookout alert. However, the lights being shown by Pisces were not seen in sufficient time for full avoiding action to be taken.
  2. The lights being shown by Pisces on the night of 16/17 June 1995, were not those prescribed in the regulations for a vessel at anchor and greatly reduced the chances of early detection by a vessel approaching from astern or on the quarter.
  3. There was no lookout being kept aboard Pisces.
  4. The minimum safe manning requirement for Pisces, as detailed in the Uniform Shipping Laws Code and the State of Victoria marine regulations, makes the maintaining of a lookout at all times impractical.
  5. The electrical supply, as required by regulation, aboard Pisces, was inadequate to provide sustained power to the deck lights when the engine was stopped.
  6. The timber construction of Pisces made the vessel's detection by radar unlikely in the prevailing heavy sea conditions.
  7. The Master of Iron Prince, in making contact with Pisces, in advising the authorities of the collision and in escorting Pisces to Portland, acted appropriately after the incident.
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 531KB]
General details
Date: 17 June 1995 Investigation status: Completed 
Location:Off Portland Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria  
Release date: 31 October 1995  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Vessel 1 details
Vessel: Iron Prince 
Flag: Aus 
IMO: 8018041 
Type of Operation: Geared bulk carrier 
Damage to Vessel: Nil 
Departure point:Hay Point, Qld
Destination:Whyalla, SA
Vessel 2 details
Vessel: Pisces 
Flag: Aus 
Type of Operation: Gill net shark/cray fishing vessel 
Damage to Vessel: Substantial 
Departure point:Portland, Vic
Destination:Portland, Qld
Share this page Provide feedback on this investigation
Last update 19 May 2016