MT Bow Singapore
On 19 August 2016 at approximately 1611hrs local time the MT Bow Singapore was inbound to Geelong approaching the Eastern end of the South channel with a cargo of sulphuric acid when the vessel suffered steering gear failure and grounded at a speed of 3 knots.
AMSA was notified via the AMSA Response Centre; who then notified the AMSA Salvage and Intervention, Marine Environment Protection Response and Ship Safety Duty Officers and the Port of Melbourne Harbourmaster. At the time of the grounding, the vessel was under pilotage and due to a falling tide, was unable to be immediately re-floated. The owners engaged Ardent Salvage to assist in the refloating attempt which was to use the tug Hastings from Geelong with a Salvage Master onboard.
The vessel was successfully refloated at 0110hrs on 20 August 2016 and with the assistance of the tug went to anchor off Melbourne where divers, relevant classification society and AMSA Port Surveyors undertook various inspections. No hull breach or pollution was identified.
MV Admiralty Spirit
At approximately 1300hrs on 11 November 2016, the MV Admiralty Spirit on passage from Malaysia to New Zealand exited the designated shipping route near Stagg Patches south of Cairns. The vessel’s Officer of the watch (the Second officer) changed course to account for the local tidal and current conditions however, failed to make further alterations to course to compensate for the conditions. A major incident was averted by the prompt action of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Tracking Service (ReefVTS) who alerted the vessel that it was exiting the designated shipping area. Once notified, the vessel’s course was altered and returned to the appropriate two-way route.
After having being notified by REEFVTS of the incident, AMSA contacted the vessel, the vessel’s coastal pilot and the flag state to establish the cause of the incident. It was reported that the Officer of the watch had made a navigational error consistent with the scenario previously described. The flag state confirmed their intentions to investigate the matter further. Following the near miss, AMSA monitored the vessel’s passage until she cleared the ReefVTS monitored area.
MV Norwegian Star
At 0413hrs on 10 February 2017, AMSA’s Salvage and intervention duty officer was notified that the MV Norwegian Star
had suffered a complete propulsion failure and was drifting north easterly at 1.6 knots, 18 nautical miles south west of Cape Liptrap in calm weather and sea conditions. The vessel was carrying 1017 crew and 2113 passengers.
Discussions between the Master, the vessel owner (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings) and AMSA indicated that the vessel had been operating on a single Azipod (propulsion unit) since 24 January 2017, when one unit had become unserviceable and was unable to be repaired. The second Azipod unit later failed at 0200hrs and it was determined highly unlikely it could be repaired.
Despite losing propulsion there was no interruption to essential and hospitality services, power supply, anchors’ and bow thrusters’ on board the vessel. It was agreed that if the vessel got within 45-50 metre depth of water, anchoring was to be attempted. However, given the underwater topography of the region, this would only be possible within 3 nautical miles of the coastline.
The ship’s owner reacted by engaging salvors (Ardent Global’s Australian operations) who coordinated commercial towage assets from Svitzer Australia’s Geelong and Melbourne operations deploying the tug Hastings and subsequently the Tom Tough and the Marysville.
The tug Hastings, with Salvage Master and Engineer aboard, secured a tow line to the MV Norwegian Star at 2046hrs on 10 February, and commenced towing the vessel back to Port Phillip Bay. During the night the tug Tom Tough rendezvoused with the vessels and assisted with escorting. At 1530hrs on 11 February a third tug, Marysville, arrived along with marine pilots who assisted the vessel’s transit to safety at Port Philip Bay.
Throughout the incident, AMSA assumed a coordination role and liaised with all parties (ship’s master, owner, agent, salvors, Port Phillip and Western Port Harbour Masters, Victorian maritime, emergency and safety authorities). Once the vessel was secured safely alongside, AMSA’s Operations team undertook relevant port State control measures.