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On 8 January 1998, the Singapore registered livestock carrier Carabao 1 anchored with 3 shackles of cable about 240 m off the outer berth of the jetty, in the port of Broome in the north-west of Western Australia. The holding ground was considered to be good and the vessel lay securely at anchor to the tides and westerly winds that predominated over the next six days.

On 14 January, westerly winds of between 10 and 15 knots were experienced, dropping in the early evening to a gentle 5 knot westerly breeze. At about 2225, about one and half-hours before high water and with the ship lying to the tidal stream and heading north-east, a sudden squall was experienced at Broome generating storm force easterly winds. Within seconds, Carabao 1 started to drag anchor directly toward the outer berth.

The Master, who was on watch, informed the engine room that he required the engine immediately, and called out the crew. The Chief Mate and Boatswain went forward to stand by the windlass.

At about 2228, the vessel's starboard bow, just aft of the anchor, came into contact with the eastern corner of the jetty. The vessel, drifting rapidly in a westerly direction, was then driven through the moorings of local fishing vessels. Four vessels were damaged, one of which broke from its moorings and was driven beneath the jetty by the wind and tide.

Between 2230 and 2235, the anchor held once more and Carabao 1 came to a stop close to the shore. Soundings at the ship's stern showed that there was about one metre of water under the keel.

By 2245 the wind had dropped below 20 knots and the ship was able to recover its anchor at 2318 and move clear of the small craft moorings. By this time the wind had dropped completely away and Carabao 1 anchored once more, 440 m off the outer berth.

No one was injured as a result of this incident. In addition to the four smaller vessels damaged, Broome jetty suffered some damage and Carabao 1 sustained an isolated indentation to its hull plating forward and some superficial paint damage.


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. The following factors are considered to have contributed to Carabao 1 dragging anchor and making contact with the jetty and fishing vessels:

  1. The proximity of the ship's anchor position to the jetty in the event that Carabao 1 was driven toward the west.
  2. There was no information available to the Master to warn him of the possibility of squalls developing and causing strong easterly winds.
  3. The delay, however minimal, of starting the ship's engine It is also considered that:
  4. The likelihood of occurrence of such squalls should have been known to the local harbour authority and the pilot.
  5. Even if, with the engine available, contact with the jetty could not be prevented, there was the possibility that dragging of the anchor further west through moored small craft, could have been avoided.
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General details
Date: 14 January 1998 Investigation status: Completed 
Location:Broome Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Western Australia  
Release date: 26 June 1998  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Vessel details
Vessel: Carabao 1 
Flag: Singa 
IMO: 7368736 
Type of Operation: Livestock Carrier 
Damage to Vessel: Nil 
Departure point:General Santos, Philippines
Destination:Broome, WA
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Last update 19 May 2016