Marine safety investigations & reports

Grounding of the Korean flag bulk carrier Hanjin Dampier

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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At 1032 on 25 August 2002, the Korean flag bulk carrier Hanjin Dampier departed from the Hamersley Iron wharf at East Intercourse Island in the port of Dampier, Western Australia. A pilot was conducting the navigation of the ship which was loaded with iron ore and had a displacement of 233 158 tonnes with draughts of 17.94 m forward and 18.10 m aft.

At 1127, just after Hanjin Dampier passed number four Hamersley Channel beacons, two of the ship's three main generators stopped, leaving only one generator running and connected to the main switchboard.

At 1152, with the ship 1.3 miles east of Courtenay Head and making headway at a little over eight knots, the third generator's circuit breaker tripped open. With the total loss of power to the main switchboard the main engine stopped and the ship lost steering. The rudder had stopped at 10 to starboard. As the ship slowed, it started to turn to starboard towards shallow water. The emergency generator failed to start automatically and, as a result, steering was not restored for some four minutes.

At 1202, Hanjin Dampier touched bottom. By about 1203 the ship had come to a stop on a heading of 047(T) in a position between the charted deep draught track and the Woodside Channel (20 29.7 degrees, 116 43.3 degrees).

Hanjin Dampier was refloated on the next spring tide, on 8 September, using five tugs and after 5000-6000 tonnes of cargo had been discharged. The ship had suffered only minor damage to the bottom shell plating and the ship was cleared by the classification society to continue trading until the next scheduled drydocking.

The report's conclusions include:

  • The ship grounded as a direct result of the loss of steering;
  • Steering was lost when the ship's three main generators tripped off the main switchboard due to water contamination of their fuel supply;
  • The emergency generator failed to start automatically due to a fault in one of its starting batteries;
  • The crew took no action nor instigated any contingency plan in the time leading up to the blackout when they could have reduced the risk to the ship; and
  • Lack of effective communication between the chief engineer and master contributed to the crew's failure to take any pre-emptive action.

The report makes three recommendations involving the testing of emergency power arrangements, bridge resource management training for engineers and the use of tugs in the port of Dampier.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 289KB]
General details
Date: 25 August 2002   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: N/A    
Location: Dampier    
State: Western Australia    
Release date: 22 December 2003   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Vessel details

Vessel details
Vessel Hanjin Dampier  
Flag Korea  
IMO 8811144  
Type of operation Bulk carrier  
Damage to vessel Minor  
Departure point Dampier, Western Australia  
Departure time 1032  
Destination Kwangyang, South Korea  
Last update 19 May 2016