The ATSB is investigating a fall from the pilot ladder of the bulk carrier Formosabulk Clement, which occurred about 5 NM east of Caloundra, Queensland.
On the evening of 9 August 2021. The bulk carrier was traveling from Mailiao, Taiwan to Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia and the crew had prepared for a crew change at the Port of Brisbane outer anchorage. While at anchor, the signing-on crew boarded the Formosabulk Clement prior to the signing-off crew disembarking.
At about 1838 the chief officer was the first to leave, and while disembarking via the combination pilot ladder, they were struck by the transfer launch in heavy swell. The chief officer fell into the sea and was recovered on board the launch soon after. The chief officer was seriously injured, and soon after lost consciousness and was unable to be revived.
The ATSB has commenced a safety investigation into this accident and will gather evidence from involved parties including the ship, launch and shore organisations. This will include conducting interviews and collecting records, recordings and other evidence relating to the planning and conduct of the crew change activity.
A preliminary report is expected to be released in a number of weeks, while a final report will be published at the conclusion of the investigation. However, should any critical safety issues be identified at any stage during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate safety action can be taken.