Marine safety investigations & reports

Grounding of Trinity Bay on Harrington Shoal, 19 January 2021

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress


The ATSB is investigating the grounding of the coastal general cargo ship Trinity Bay on Harrington Shoal, 410 NM north of Cairns, Queensland, at 0810 on 19 January 2021.

In light winds and calm seas, while transiting the Great Barrier Reef on a regular voyage from Thursday Island to Cairns, Trinity Bay grounded on Harrington Shoal. The ship was at a speed of 12 knots when it ran aground. Inspections revealed no damage and no pollution—the ship had grounded on a sandy bottom.

Authorities including Reef VTS, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and Maritime Services Queensland (MSQ) were advised of the incident. About 2 hours after grounding the ship was successfully refloated and moved to anchor awaiting further advice. At 1830 hrs on 20 January approval was given for the ship to continue its voyage to Cairns.

As part of the investigation the ATSB will collect relevant evidence including interviewing directly involved parties.

Should any safety critical information be discovered at any time during the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify operators and regulators so appropriate and timely safety action can be taken.

A final report will be published at the conclusion of the investigation.

General details
Date: 19 January 2021   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 0810 EST   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Harrington Shoal, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Queensland   Investigation phase: Examination and analysis  
State: Queensland    
  Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: None  
Anticipated completion: 1st Quarter 2022    

Vessel details

Vessel details
Operator Sea Swift  
Vessel Trinity Bay  
Flag Australia  
IMO 9149990 DCV CLASS 1C, UI 856091  
Sector Other  
Type of operation Grounding  
Damage to vessel Minor  
Departure point Thursday Island, Queensland  
Destination Cairns, Queensland  
Last update 15 June 2021