At 1950 on 20 April 2001, the Indian flag bulk carrier Devprayag, after completing discharge of a cargo of fertiliser at the Victorian port of Portland, anchored off the port to prepare its hatches for a cargo of grain to be loaded at Geelong.
The anchorage at Portland is exposed to the south and east and, at the time of anchoring, the wind was southerly, force 3. It increased the next morning to force 5, then to force 6 later that afternoon.
At 1600 on 21 April, the master, concerned that the vessel was yawing excessively, had ordered the engine room to be on five minutes notice. Later that evening, the anchor dragged almost half a mile to the northwest before holding once more, but no action was taken by the ship's officers or the master.
By 2000 the wind was force 6/7. At 2230, the officer of the watch observed that the anchor was dragging again and he alerted the master and the engine room. The master sent the mate forward to weigh the anchor, intending to anchor again at the original position.
While the anchor was being weighed, the ship was set northwest towards Minerva Reef, along the Portland foreshore and, at about 2320, it grounded on the reef.
No one was injured as a result of the grounding and no oil or other pollutant escaped from the ship. The ship was checked for damage and no breach of the hull was found.
The vessel was detained by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) because of the possibility of hull damage and pollution. Four days after the grounding, the ship was refloated with tug assistance. It was inspected by divers at Portland and was released to continue its voyage after being issued with a condition of class.
This report concludes that, among other factors contributing to the incident:
- The master, after anchoring on a lee shore, permitted the vessel to remain at the exposed anchorage in deteriorating weather;
- The master had not noted the warning in the Sailing Directions that the anchorage was not recommended in strong E and SE weather and;
- Priority was given to the task of preparation of the hatches for cargo rather than to the safety of the ship.
This report recommends that:
- Mariners note the importance of using Sailing Directions when planning passages, when entering or leaving a port or anchoring in or near a port and;
- That they be fully aware of weather conditions as well as the fact that inclement weather can alter a relatively safe anchorage into one that is unsafe.
|Date:||21 April 2001||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Release date:||26 November 2002||Occurrence category:||Incident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||None|
|Type of operation||Bulk carrier|
|Damage to vessel||Minor|
|Departure point||Portland, Victoria|