At 0958 on 6 April 2006, the mooring hawser attaching Dampier Spirit to the CALM buoy at the Stag oil platform off Dampier, Western Australia, parted and forced the ship to put to sea as a cyclone approached.
Dampier Spirit's master had delayed making the decision to disconnect from the CALM buoy when a cyclone, centred 200 miles from the ship, was declared. His decision may have been delayed because of ambiguities in the company's decision guidelines; the procedures did not accurately reflect the ship's ability to sail away from danger; the Stag platform was still discharging crude oil into the ship's cargo tanks; and the ship had safely remained at the buoy during a previous cyclone.
After the ship had separated from the buoy, it had difficulty in manoeuvring away from the area because the performance of the ship was reduced by the 'slow steaming' fuel injector nozzles fitted in the main engine and by the build-up of barnacle and coral growth on the hull.
The ship was tracking towards Tryal Rocks until the wind eased, allowing it to sail into safer water. If Dampier Spirit had grounded on Tryal Rocks, its 12 100 tonnes of crude oil cargo may have been spilled into the sea, resulting in significant damage to the environmentally sensitive mangroves and turtle nesting grounds in the area.
|Date:||06 April 2006||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||0948 & 0100 (UTC+8)|
|Release date:||20 February 2007||Occurrence category:||Incident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||None|
|Type of operation||FSO|
|Damage to vessel||Nil|