Marine safety investigations & reports

Grounding of oil tanker Desh Rakshak, Port Phillip, Victoria

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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Desh Rakshak arrived off Port Phillip on the morning of 4 January 2006, with about 80 000 tonnes of crude oil cargo on board, and at 0800 a pilot boarded the ship for the transit from sea to the Melbourne outer anchorage.

The pilot planned to enter the port to the west of the track marked by the main leading lights, to keep the ship out of an opposing tidal flow for as long as possible. When the ship was almost abeam of Point Lonsdale Lighthouse, the pilot thought he could see the high and low main leading lights just open to the west. This indicated to him that the ship was on the edge of the Great Ship Channel. However, the ship was further to the west than the pilot thought.

The ship continued the transit and anchored at 1154. No one on board the ship observed anything that might have suggested that the ship had grounded during the pilotage.

At about 1245, the chief mate found the level in the lower fore peak water ballast tank rising. He told the master, and they decided to pump out the tank and inspect it. The inspection revealed that the tank's shell plating had been holed.

The ship berthed in Geelong on 5 January and temporary repairs were carried out before it sailed for Singapore on 19 January, where it was dry-docked for permanent repairs.

The investigation found that the ship probably grounded at about 0825, when it was almost abeam of Point Lonsdale, while transiting from sea to the Melbourne outer anchorage.

The report identifies a number of contributing factors and makes recommendations to address them.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 1.12MB]
General details
Date: 04 January 2006   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0900 (UTC+11)    
Location: Port Phillip Bay    
State: Victoria    
Release date: 02 April 2007   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Vessel details

Vessel details
Vessel Desh Rakshak  
Flag India  
IMO 9243021  
Type of operation Tanker  
Damage to vessel Minor  
Departure point Sydney, NSW  
Destination Melbourne, Vic  
Last update 19 May 2016