Marine safety issues and actions

Weather event management

Issue number: MO-2014-009-SI-03
Who it affects: All ships berthed in Fremantle’s Inner Harbour
Issue owner: Fremantle Port Authority (Fremantle Ports)
Transport function: Marine: Shipboard operations
Background: Investigation Report 313-MO-2014-009
Issue release date: 04 May 2016
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

Fremantle Ports’ safety action includes procedures, systems and equipment that will allow it to better manage adverse weather events.

Safety issue description

Fremantle Ports’ procedures for adverse weather were not adequate for weather that could reasonably be expected to occur. Some procedures could not be reasonably implemented and other were not monitored for compliance.

Proactive Action

Action number: MO-2014-009-NSA-028
Action organisation: Fremantle Ports
Date: 04 May 2016
Action status: Closed

Fremantle Ports advised the ATSB that the harbour master issued instruction HM01/14 on 29 August 2014 to clarify the berthing parameters for ships using NQ12 Common User Berth. The port’s procedures and its ship warning notice have been updated to include:

  • the wind speed in conjunction with the term strong wind warning and gale force winds,
  • the addition of the term ‘severe thunderstorm’ with the wind speed,
  • the advice that gust strength may be 40 per cent higher than the predicted wind speed,
  • the warning that ships could experience sudden and excessive surge due to water movement.

Fremantle Ports further advised that:

  • it has subscribed to the ‘Weatherzone’ weather program, specifically configured for the port. This system displays real time weather data with an hour-by-hour prediction of how weather will affect the port’s operation. Vessel traffic service (VTS) officers are trained to use the system and identify deteriorating weather conditions. Weatherzone provides the port an independent, alternative source of information to that of the Bureau of Meteorology
  • the weather, wind and lightning warning messages are automatically sent to designated staff and pilots
  • a new weather station and upgraded VTS equipment with enhanced vessel plotting and monitoring systems have been installed
  • VTS operational procedures have been amended to instruct VTS officers to contact the duty harbour master if there is any risk or concern, or if gale force winds are experienced
  • Twelve ‘Shoretension’ devices have been installed in the inner harbour.

Fremantle Ports’ weather report distribution list now includes the Public Transport Authority (PTA) and other port users/terminal operators to allow each to initiate their weather procedures. Further:

  • the PTA and Fremantle Ports have established direct, high-level contact details in each other’s organisations to respond to an incident threatening the Fremantle Rail Bridge
  • when a weather report is received by the PTA that requires Fremantle Ports action, the PTA will confirm with Fremantle Ports that the port is enacting its weather procedures.

should a ship breakaway from its moorings, Fremantle Ports is required to contact the PTA. If the ship poses a danger to the rail bridge, the PTA will close the bridge to all rail traffic. 

Last update 04 May 2016