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.