Marine safety investigations & reports

Propulsion failure of Portland Bay, off Port Kembla, New South Wales, 4 July 2022

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress


The ATSB is investigating the propulsion failure of the bulk carrier Portland Bay off Port Kembla, New South Wales, on 4 July 2022. 

At about 0330 AEST on 4 July, Portland Bay was underway about 12 nautical miles off the coast when the ship's main engine developed problems. The ship was unable to keep clear of the coast and at about 0915, deployed an anchor in order to not close further with the coast. The emergency response by authorities ashore included deploying tugs to assist the ship over the following days. On 6 July, the ship was towed into the Port of Sydney and, at 1454, secured alongside a berth in Hayes Dock, Port Botany, for inspections and repairs to its main engine.

As part of the investigation, the ATSB will examine the circumstances leading to the failure of the ship's propulsion, including the situation leading to its departure from Port Kembla on 3 July, the events following the propulsion failure, and the emergency response. The ATSB will interview all directly involved parties on board the ship and ashore, and analyse recorded data and other evidence related to the incident.

Should a critical safety issue be identified 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: 04 July 2022   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 0330 AEST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): off Port Kembla   Investigation phase: Evidence collection  
State: New South Wales    
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: None  
Anticipated completion: 1st Quarter 2023    

Vessel details

Vessel details
Vessel Portland Bay  
Flag Hong Kong  
IMO 9276200  
Sector Bulk carrier  
Type of operation Dry bulk (ore) carrier  
Departure point Port Kembla, New South Wales  
Destination Port Kembla, New South Wales  
Last update 07 July 2022