Marine safety investigations & reports

Fall from the pilot ladder on the bulk carrier Formosabulk Clement 5 NM east of Caloundra, QLD, 9 August 2021

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress


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.

General details
Date: 09 August 2021   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 1838   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 5 NM East of Caloundra   Investigation phase: Evidence collection  
State: Queensland    
  Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: Fatal  
Anticipated completion: 1st Quarter 2022    

Vessel 1 details

Vessel 1 details
Vessel Formosabulk Clement  
Flag Liberia  
IMO 9222742  
Sector Bulk carrier  
Damage to vessel Nil  
Departure point Mailiao, Taiwan  
Destination Newcastle, New South Wales  

Vessel 2 details

Vessel 2 details
Operator Pacific Tug Group Pty Ltd  
Vessel P.T. Transporter  
Flag Australia (DCV UI number 430394)  
Type of operation Crew transfer  
Damage to vessel Nil  
Departure point Brisbane, Queensland  
Destination Brisbane, Queensland  
Last update 20 August 2021