ATSB releases Port of Brisbane product tanker breakaway and grounding preliminary report

ATSB releases Port of Brisbane product tanker breakaway and grounding preliminary report

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released a preliminary report from its on-going investigation into the breakaway and grounding of a product tanker in the Port of Brisbane during flooding on 27 February 2022.

The preliminary report outlines factual information established through the transport safety investigation’s early evidence collection phase. It does not include analysis or findings, which will be detailed in the ATSB’s final report.

The Hong Kong-flagged product tanker CSC Friendship was alongside the Ampol Products Wharf in Brisbane, loaded with 25,000 tonnes of diesel oil and 7,000 tonnes of gasoline for a voyage to Adelaide, on the evening of 27 February.

A low-pressure system and associated rain and wind was impacting the greater Brisbane area, resulting in significant flooding of the Brisbane River.

At about 2250, during an increased ebb tidal flow in the river, one of the ship’s stern lines parted suddenly. This increased the load on the 13 remaining mooring lines which, over the following 90 minutes, also failed.

During this time, the ship’s crew used the main engine and an anchor in an attempt to arrest the ship’s movement, and a number of harbour tugs attended to assist.

Despite these efforts, the ship broke away from the berth at about 0028 on 28 February, was swept downstream, and grounded to the east of Clara Rock beacon at Lytton Rocks Reach.

About half an hour later, a harbour pilot arrived by launch and boarded the grounded ship via the ship’s pilot ladder.

The pilot quickly established the ship was aground with the port quarter on the bank, bow slightly in the channel, and head down river.

Over the next four hours, the pilot attended the ship and, working with the ship’s crew and tugs, re-floated it at 0530. During the re-floating efforts, the ship grounded a second and third time.

After re-floating, CSC Friendship was moved downriver and anchored at Brisbane’s ship-to-ship transfer anchorage at about 0645. Subsequent inspections confirmed some shell plate damage, including buckling and medium to heavy abrasion of the hull, but no hull penetration or cracking of plate or welds.

The ship then travelled to Port Botany to discharge its cargo, before sailing to China for dry dock and repair.

The ATSB’s continuing investigation will examine weather and flood conditions prior to and during the breakaway and grounding, the effectiveness of the port procedures, operational guidance and inter-agency communications during a flood event, and the mooring arrangements relevant to this incident.

Investigators will also review internal and external shipboard communication systems, analyse relevant human factors, and verify, interpret, and analyse recorded data.

Read the report MO-2022-003: Breakaway and grounding involving CSC Friendship, Port of Brisbane, Queensland, on 27 February 2022

Last update 25 May 2022

Preliminary report

Breakaway and grounding involving CSC Friendship, Port of Brisbane, Queensland, on 27 February 2022