Container ship’s evasive action increased chance of collision, says report

Evasive action undertaken by 2005-built, Panama-flagged, 54,519 gt container ship Beijing Bridge (IMO 9292230) and Australia-flagged fishing vessel Saxon Onward increased the risk of collision, according to the final report on the incident from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

The January 23rd 2018 collision occurred shortly after midnight in the Tasman Sea, about 3nm south-east of Gabo Island, Victoria when Beijing Bridge was en route to Melbourne. There were no injuries or pollution reported by either vessel. The fishing vessel suffered substantial damage to its hull, but was able to make its way unassisted to the nearby port of Eden, New South Wales. The container ship resumed its passage and berthed in Melbourne later the same day.

Both vessels had been aware of each other’s presence for at least half an hour before the collision took place and both vessels also took action in an attempt to avoid collision, but these actions were either insufficient or too late, the report found.

Beijing Bridge’s course alteration was judged to be minor and late, and to have increased the risk of a collision. Saxon Onward made a substantial course alteration but it was made too late.

The trawler’s port bow impacted the ship’s starboard side in the region of cargo hold number 3, about 94 metres aft of the ship’s bow. The trawler then scraped down the ship’s side, the skipper stopped the engine and the crew mustered in the wheelhouse. The trawler heeled over sharply to starboard and took on some water before it righted itself, passed the ship’s stern and drifted away to the north-east.

The ATSB said that there had been at least 65 reported collisions since 1990 between small vessels and trading ships on the Australian coast, with 39 being investigated. Safety investigations into several of these collisions showed that taking early and effective avoiding action, and the keeping of a proper lookout, could have prevented most of these collisions.

Beijing Bridge is entered with Assuranceforeningen Gard – gjensidig – on behalf of Beijing Bridge SA.

Further details of the incident and the conclusions of ATSB at: