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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 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria Occurrence type: Grounding 
Release date: 02 April 2007  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Vessel details
Vessel: Desh Rakshak 
Flag: India 
IMO: 9243021 
Type of Operation: Tanker 
Damage to Vessel: Minor 
Departure point:Sydney, NSW
Destination:Melbourne, Vic
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Last update 19 May 2016