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AMSA Update: Towline established for disabled vessel in Qld

Monday 12 January 2015
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is coordinating the response to a general cargo vessel, experiencing mechanical issues near the Great Barrier Reef.
Media Release

Antigua and Barbuda flagged general cargo vessel, Thor Commander, reported on Sunday night it had damaged its main engine.

A towline was established between the disabled vessel and an assisting Chinese flagged merchant vessel, Xinfa Hai, on Monday evening.

Xinfa Hai is towing the vessel slowly in an easterly direction ahead of the tug’s arrival on Tuesday morning.

AMSA directed the owners and Master of Thor Commander under the Protection of the Sea (Powers of Intervention) Act 1981 to accept a tow to prevent it drifting further.

Additionally, a direction was issued to the Master of the Xinfa Hai to engage in a towage operation and hold Thor Commander until the arrival of the tug.

AMSA uses these powers to prevent potential maritime casualties and harm to the marine environment.

The vessel was drifting north-east of Perkins Reef and north of Elusive Reef in the Swains Reefs group, about 379km north-east of Gladstone when it was disabled.

AMSA tasked a tug from Gladstone to respond and the two merchant vessels responded to a broadcast to shipping in the area ahead of the owners of Thor Commander entering into a commercial arrangement with the tug’s owners.

Queensland police vessel Lyle M Hoey also diverted and assisted in establishing the towline between the two merchant ships.