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Summary

Summary

On the afternoon of 30 April 2000, the Kuwaiti flag product tanker Al Deerah arrived off the Tamar River. The tanker was carrying a cargo of gas oil, heating oil and unleaded petrol from Kwinana in Western Australia for discharge at Bell Bay and other Australian ports.

At 1600 a pilot embarked to conduct the ship to the oil berth in Bell Bay. On the bridge with the pilot were the master, the mate and a helmsman on the wheel. The tide was flooding at an estimated two knots. Shortly after boarding, the pilot ordered full ahead manoeuvring speed.

The passage through the entrance of the Tamar River is narrow and there are seven significant alterations of course within a distance of 5.51 miles. As the vessel entered the Tamar River and made the initial course alterations, the pilot found that the ship was sluggish to respond to the rudder. Later, on the Stone Quarry leads, significant angles of counter rudder were required to steady the vessel on course.

At about 1637 the vessel steadied on the Stone Quarry leads, approaching the wheelover position to alter towards the south off Garden Island. At about 1639 the pilot ordered starboard rudder to bring the ship to the next heading. As the vessel altered course to starboard the pilot realised that it was turning too quickly. He ordered the rudder amidships, then to port. However, the vessel continued swinging to starboard, making contact with the bottom off the southeast edge of Garden Island. It heeled to port, then returned upright before listing to starboard.

Al Deerah's cargo tanks are protected by ballast tanks and a check revealed that nos. 2 and 3 starboard combined bottom and side ballast tanks were filling with water. The master ordered that the port ballast tanks be filled to counteract the list.

At 1745, the vessel anchored in Bell Bay. The harbour master boarded the vessel to discuss the situation with the master and the pilot. He disembarked after deciding that it was safe to berth the vessel and Al Deerah was secured at its berth at 2215 without further incident.

Nobody was hurt as a result of the grounding, nor did any oil or other pollutant escape from the ship.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) detained the vessel at 2240 on 30 April. The detention was lifted at 2100 on 1 May to permit the vessel to sail to Burnie after a classification society surveyor had viewed video footage of an underwater examination of the hull and had issued the vessel with a condition of class. The interim certificate from the class society stated that the vessel was to discharge its cargo at Burnie and Port Botany, then proceed directly to dry dock for repairs.

After discharging its cargo at Bell Bay, Al Deerah left the berth and anchored at Bell Bay at 0034 on 2 May, before sailing for Burnie at 0908 the same day.

 
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