The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) recently published an investigation report into the grounding of a bulk carrier at Newcastle, Australia. This bulletin highlights findings and recommendations contained in the report, in order that lessons can be learned and future incidents prevented.
The grounding occurred an hour after the ship departed from an anchorage where her anchor was dragging in heavy weather. A gale warning had been issued forecasting winds of 45 knots gusting to 63 knots with high seas and a heavy swell. The anchorage is only suitable in good weather and nautical publications contain warnings about the local weather conditions, recommending that masters put to sea before conditions become severe. The gale warning should have prompted the master to ballast the ship for heavy weather and take it to sea.