Marine safety investigations & reports

Grounding of the bulk carrier Bulk India during departure from Dampier, Western Australia, on 11 March 2018

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress
Phase: Final report: Internal review Read more information on this investigation phase


Updated: 11 March 2020

The investigation into the grounding of the bulk carrier Bulk India during departure from Dampier, Western Australia, on 11 March 2018 is continuing.

The investigation report is currently in the ‘Final report: Internal review’ phase. Final ATSB investigation reports undergo a rigorous internal review process to ensure the report adequately and accurately reflects the evidence collected, analysis, and agreed findings of the Safety Factor Review. Final investigation reports also undergo other technical and administrative reviews to ensure the reports meet national and international standards for transport safety investigations.

If a review identifies any issues with a report, such as information that needs to be expanded or findings that need to be modified, investigators will look to collect new evidence or conduct additional examination and analysis of existing evidence.

ATSB investigators have so far gathered and analysed information from multiple sources, including:

  • Ship operator critical equipment identification and associated processes (including maintenance and spare parts)
  • Shipboard bridge procedures, including for port arrival and departure and pilotage
  • Port risk management arrangements, processes and procedures
  • Pilot organisation pilotage and emergency response procedures
  • Port towage arrangements.


Initial summary

The ATSB is investigating the grounding under pilotage involving the Panama-registered dry bulk carrier Bulk India during departure from Dampier, Western Australia on 11 March 2018.

On 11 March, 2018, the fully laden Bulk India was departing Dampier under the conduct of a Dampier harbour pilot. At about 1430 hours (local time, UTC +8 hours), as the ship was approaching channel marker No5, a full electrical blackout occurred. All power was lost to the ship's propulsion and also to steerage.

At the time, the pilot was giving course directions to the helmsman. The helm was at 20° Port when control was lost. The ship, no longer under power, turned to port and grounded at a speed of about 6 knots. The Dampier Vessel Traffic Service was contacted and additional tugs requested for assistance.

At 1445, three tugs arrived. At 1449, electrical power was restored and by 1600, Bulk India was free of the bottom. The ship was then taken to anchorage for further inspection and investigation.

As part of the investigation, the ATSB will obtain information and recordings from the ship, company and pilots, and will interview directly involved parties as appropriate.

A report will be released at the end of the investigation. Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, relevant parties will be immediately notified so that appropriate safety action can be taken.

General details
Date: 11 March 2018   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 1430 WST   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Dampier   Investigation phase: Final report: Internal review  
State: Western Australia    
  Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: None  
Anticipated completion: 3rd Quarter 2020    

Vessel details

Vessel details
Operator Southern Route Maritime and Nissen Kaiun  
Vessel Bulk India  
Flag Panama  
IMO 9284271  
Sector Bulk carrier  
Type of operation Iron ore  
Damage to vessel Unknown  
Departure point Dampier, Western Australia  
Destination Qingdao, Shandong, People's Republic of China  
Last update 11 March 2020