Marine safety investigations & reports

Steering gear breakdown on board the New Zealand registered tug Tuahine off Queensland, on 31 October 2011

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, a limited-scope, fact-gathering investigation was conducted in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.

During a voyage from Tin Can Bay, Queensland to Brisbane, Queensland, the vessel's crew activated the tug's 406 MHz EPIRB, thus declaring an emergency, about 80 nm ENE of Cape Moreton after the tug's steering was damaged and couldn't be fixed. The crew of three were airlifted off to safety and a tug from Brisbane was sent to take it in tow.

Safety message
Regardless of the length of a voyage, or their experience, the crew should always adequately prepare their vessel before departing port. The proper stowage and securing of equipment to prevent movement in a seaway and the carriage of spare parts to repair critical equipment are essential parts of a thorough voyage preparation. The dangers of being ill-prepared for a voyage have been illustrated in previous ATSB investigations.

Download Final report
[Download  PDF: 340KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 1.09MB]


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General details
Date: 31 October 2011   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1700 (UTC +10)   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): East of Moreton Island    
State: Queensland    
Release date: 13 March 2012   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Vessel details

Vessel details
Vessel Tuahine  
Flag New Zealand  
Type of operation Tug  
Damage to vessel Minor  
Departure point Tin Can Bay, Queensland  
Destination Brisbane, Queensland  
Last update 14 November 2018