Marine safety investigations & reports

Fatality while sailing from Dampier Taharoa Express

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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Taharoa Express is a Panama flag bulk carrier of 145 842 tonnes deadweight at a summer draught of 17.42 m. The vessel, owned by Pacific Transport Trading SA and managed by Hachiuma Steamship Company, was on charter to NYK Line, Tokyo.

Classed with Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, the vessel was built in 1990 by Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea. It is of standard bulk carrier design with 9 cargo holds located forward of the accommodation superstructure. It has an overall length of 269 m, a moulded breadth of 43 m and a moulded depth of 23.8 m. Propulsive power is provided by a 5-cylinder B&W 5S70MC diesel engine of 11 974 kW driving a single fixed pitch propeller which gives the ship a service speed of 14 knots.

At the time of the incident, Taharoa Express had a complement of 25. The master, mate and the chief engineer were Japanese and the other officers and crew were Filipinos. The master and other officers all held appropriate qualifications.


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

  • The seaman was standing almost directly over the fairlead roller for the mooring rope and was not warned that he should have been in a safer position;
  • It is likely that the bosun, thinking that the breastlines had been released, operated the winch to recover the lines, resulting in tightening of the line that was still attached to the mooring hook.

In addition, although tests on the hook were not conclusive, one or more of the following possibly occurred:

  • The initial attempt to release the hook partially altered the position of the release system resulting in a release of the hook under tension;
  • Dirt or rust had prevented the mooring hook from being correctly reset;
  • The mooring hook was not correctly reset.

It is possible that modifications to the remote release mechanism might also have been a factor in the hook releasing.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 121KB]
General details
Date: 11 July 2002   Investigation status: Completed  
Location: Dampier    
State: Western Australia    
Release date: 26 August 2003   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Vessel details

Vessel details
Vessel Taharoa Express  
Flag Panama  
IMO 8903117  
Type of operation Bulk carrier  
Damage to vessel Nil  
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Fatal: 1 0 0 1
Total: 1 0 0 1
Last update 19 May 2016