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At 1400 on 1 May 2006, Crimson Mars sailed from Bell Bay, northern Tasmania with a local pilot on board. The sky was cloudy and the visibility was clear with a light south-easterly wind. During the ship's turn to port around Garden Island, at about 1440, starboard instead of port helm was applied for approximately one minute. The error was not noticed initially and by the time maximum port helm was applied at 1441, grounding was inevitable. Soon after, the pilot ordered both anchors to be let go and the main engine to be run at emergency full astern in an attempt to reduce the effects of the impact. At 1442, the ship grounded on Long Tom Reef as the port anchor was let go and the main engine run astern.

The ship, with its main engine running astern, moved off the reef and refloated at 1446. An attempt to retrieve the anchor resulted in the failure of the port windlass. The ship remained anchored until 1605 when two tugs arrived to assist. The anchor cable was cut and left in the river with the port anchor. The ship then returned to the Bell Bay anchorage with the assistance of the tugs.

An inspection of the ship revealed that it was severely damaged and that temporary repairs could not be carried out in Bell Bay. The ship's departure was delayed until contingency arrangements could be put in place. Crimson Mars sailed from Bell Bay on 12 May for Hualien, Taiwan, to discharge its cargo and carry out permanent repairs.

The report identifies several safety factors and makes recommendations to address them.

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