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On the morning of Saturday 19 October 1996, the Antigua and Barbuda flag cargo vessel Karin B entered Corner Basin, Victoria, bound for Esso Australia Limited's private terminal at Barry Beach, where it was to discharge sections of a new drilling rig. Outside the bar, off Corner Inlet, the wind was very fresh from the north-west, but it eased to about 15 knots as the vessel passed through the inlet. Although the sky was threatening and a frontal change forecast, those on the bridge considered they had time to berth the vessel before the front arrived.

While making the turn from Toora Channel into the dredged Barry Beach Channel, Karin B was caught by a sudden increase in wind and was blown on to the mud bank to the starboard side of the dredged channel. The vessel listed 18 to port before stabilising and was towed off the bank during the next flooding tide by the supply vessel Lady Valesia.

No damage was sustained by the vessel and no pollution occurred.

There is no pilotage at Corner Basin, but in compliance with a Gippsland Ports Authority requirement, an offshore supply vessel master, with local knowledge of Corner Basin and Barry Beach Terminal, was engaged to provide advice to the Master of Karin B.


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.

Karin B was caught by a sudden strong wind associated with the passing of a cold front during the manoeuvre into the confined approach channel to Barry Beach Terminal.

The following factors are considered to have contributed to the incident:

  1. Inadequate strategic and operational planning, in particular in the consideration, by all parties involved, of the safety case and the determination of safety parameters and precautions to be taken for the berthing operations.
  2. The function of the offshore supply vessel master was not clearly defined so as to be fully understood by all parties involved.
  3. The loose use of the term "pilot", which misled the ship's Master as to the situation at Corner Basin.
  4. Readily available, up to date information on the approaching front was not obtained from the Bureau of Meteorology.
  5. A perceived need, on the part of the Adviser, to get the job done, which would have affected the level of caution adopted.
  6. A lack of communication and co-ordination between the two principal companies, which resulted in the vessel being misinformed.
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