The Melete sailed from Dampier, Western Australia on 11 August 1991 with 27 persons on board, bound for Port Talbot, Wales with a cargo of 68902 tonnes of iron ore fines.
At 0358Z 24 August the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra received a distress call via the Inmarsat A Indian Ocean satellite from the Melete in position 27 41'S 054 13'E. The distress message said that the Melete was in danger of sinking with 27 crew on board. The MRCC advised the Melete to activate their EPERB, shortly after which all contact with the Melete was lost.
Search and rescue operations were coordinated by Marine La Reunion. Aircraft and other ships arriving at the last known position of Melete reported sighting oil slicks and flotsam.
Two crew members of Melete were rescued. Continued searches failed to locate other survivors.
It is considered that:
- The cargo as presented for loading was in accordance with the Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes.
- The cargo loading sequence was in accordance with the Master's instructions.
- The loading rates were comparable with those normally carried out at the Parker Point berth and not excessive.
- The pour quantities stipulated by the Master, as percentages of deadweight, were typical of current loading practices. However, this is a subject that requires to be investigated thoroughly.
- There is no evidence in Australia to indicate that any structural damage may have occurred due to contact with other vessels or the berth whilst Melete was at Dampier.
|Date:||24 August 1991||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Location:||South Indian Ocean|
|Release date:||09 June 1992||Occurrence category:||Serious Incident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||Fatal|
|Type of operation||Bulk carrier|
|Damage to vessel||Destroyed|
|Departure point||Dampier, Western Australia|
|Destination||Port Talbot, Wales|