Marine safety investigations & reports

Grounding of the Greek registered ship Doric Chariot

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 26 July 2002 Doric Chariot sailed from Hay Point, Queensland on a voyage to India via the Great Barrier Reef inner passage and Singapore. A pilot was engaged for the Reef passage.

The voyage initially proceeded normally and, on 29 July, as the ship approached Eel Reef light, the pilot requested a slight course alteration to allow more sea room for passing a south-bound ship. After passing this ship the pilot requested another course adjustment to bring the ship back toward the planned track. He then spoke with the OOW (Officer of the Watch) about the time he should next be called and sat on the daybed at the side of the wheelhouse to take a rest before the ship arrived at the next reporting position near Piper Reef.

The ship continued under the direction of the OOW until the pilot was next called. When the pilot stood up and looked at the ship's position with reference to the two beacons ahead at Piper and Inset Reefs, he immediately realised that the ship was to the west of the two-way route and approaching the southern end of Piper Reef. He ordered, 'hard-a-starboard' and, shortly afterwards 'full astern' but it was too late. The ship started to swing to starboard but, within about one and a half minutes, at about 0335, the ship ran aground to the south of Piper Reef light.

The ship was successfully refloated on 6 August 2002. No injuries or pollution resulted from the grounding.

The report concludes that the pilot:

  1. sat down intending to rest but fell asleep, in an inappropriate area of the pilotage passage;
  2. instructed that he should next be called in a position too close to the approaching dangers for any successful corrective action to be taken should it be required;
  3. was likely to have been experiencing a significant level of fatigue, based on the FAID program measurement, that affected his performance. This was predominantly as a result of his personal fatigue strategies before and during the passage and;
  4. did not provide the OOW with sufficient clear, unambiguous, instructions regarding the course between Eel Reef and Piper Reef and made assumptions as to the OOW's actions that were not justified.

The report also concludes that the OOW:

  1. did not maintain an effective visual watch and allowed Doric Chariot to stray from the intended course;
  2. did not adjust the ship's course to follow the route drawn on the chart;
  3. did not fix the ship's positions at intervals that were consistent with safe navigation and;
  4. did not fully understand the pilot's intentions.


  1. The bridge resource management exercised by the pilot and the OOW was ineffective.

The report makes three recommendations involving clearer understanding between pilots and officers; a fatigue management policy by pilots; and a paper to the IMO.

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General details
Date: 29 July 2002   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: N/A    
Location: Piper Reef (North QLD)    
State: Queensland    
Release date: 25 September 2003   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Vessel details

Vessel details
Vessel Doric Chariot  
Flag Greec  
IMO 9075670  
Type of operation Bulk Carrier  
Damage to vessel Nil  
Departure point Hay Point, Qld  
Destination India  
Last update 19 May 2016