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At 0545 on 16 December 1998, the Barbados flag self-discharging bulk carrier, MV Claudia arrived off Pioneer Concrete's Bass Point jetty at Shellharbour to load a cargo of aggregate. The vessel manoeuvred alongside, starboard side to, against an offshore wind of 15 to 20 knots and was all fast at 0650.

About 10 minutes after loading commenced, MV Claudia developed a starboard list (See figure 1). The ballast was adjusted but the list continued to increase. At 0737, when the list had increased to about 15 degrees, loading was suspended and the cause of the list investigated by the vessel's crew. On sounding the vessel's ballast tanks and void spaces it became apparent that the vessel had a hole in No 1 void space (starboard). It was apparent that as the draught increased with loading more water entered No 1 void space (starboard) thus increasing the list. The hatch covers and watertight doors on the vessel were closed and No 1 void space pumped out. Temporary underwater repairs were effected to seal the hole and the vessel sailed for Sydney without loading any more cargo.

Investigation into the cause of the hole in the hull showed that a horizontal steel girder on No 3 dolphin protruded beyond the dolphin's piles below the high tide level. It was evident that in berthing, the vessel had made contact with the girder causing it to pierce the hull.

No one was injured and no pollution occurred as a result of the damage.


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

The following factors are considered to have contributed to the contact damage:

  1. The hole in the hull was caused by the steel girder proud of No 3 dolphin.
  2. Nobody on the vessel knew that there was any obstruction on the dolphin.
  3. No warning was given by the owners of the jetty as to any possible obstruction at the jetty.
  4. Although the Master inspected the jetty before the vessel commenced the service, he did not notice the steel girder which was located in a rather inconspicuous position.
  5. The speed of the capstans and the drums on the anchor windlass are such that mooring lines could not be retrieved with sufficient speed, given the jetty configuration and its exposed nature.
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 650KB]
General details
Date: 16 December 1998 Investigation status: Completed 
Location:Bass Point Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales  
Release date: 11 October 1999  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Vessel details
Vessel: MV Claudia 
Flag: Barba 
IMO: 8128559 
Type of Operation: Self-discharging bulk carrier 
Damage to Vessel: Minor 
Departure point:Bass Point, New South Wales
Destination:Blackwattle Bay, New South Wales
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Last update 19 May 2016