Marine safety investigations & reports

Independent investigation into the breakaway and grounding of the Hong Kong registered bulk carrier Creciente at Port Hedland, Western Australia on 12 September 2006

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 1.48MB]

At 1730 on 10 September 2006, the Hong Kong registered bulk carrier Creciente berthed in Port Hedland, Western Australia, to load a cargo of iron ore.

At about 0245 on 12 September, the almost fully laden ship broke away from the wharf under the influence of a strong ebb tide.

Despite the use of several tugs and the ship's engine, it was not possible to manoeuvre the ship back alongside the wharf. The harbour master decided to hold the ship in the deepest part of the port's entrance channel until the next high tide.

By about 0615 on 12 September, the ship was firmly aground in the channel and, at about 0950, it was successfully refloated.

The ATSB investigation found that the effective holding capacity of the ship's mooring winch brakes was reduced by the number of layers of mooring line on the winch drums and the poor condition of their brakes. The investigation also found that it was highly likely that the brakes had not been sufficiently tightened and that the mooring winches were not effectively monitored in the time leading up to the incident.

The investigation also found that neither the port authority nor the ship's master had identified the possibility of the ship breaking away from its berth and appropriately assessed the risks associated with this potential hazard.

The report issues two recommendations and five safety advisory notices to address the identified safety issues.

Marine Safety Recommendations

[MR20080007] [MR20080008]

Marine Safety Advisory Notices

[MS20080010] [MS20080011] [MS20080012] [MS20080013] [MS20080014]

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 1.48MB]
General details
Date: 12 September 2006   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: UTC +8    
Location: Port Hedland    
State: Western Australia    
Release date: 05 June 2008   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Vessel details

Vessel details
Vessel Creciente  
Flag HK  
IMO 8815463  
Type of operation Bulk Carrier  
Damage to vessel Substantial  
Departure point Port Hedland, Western Australia  
Departure time 0245  
Destination Japan  
Last update 19 May 2016