Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Ineffective lookout caused ship collision



Download PDFDownload PDF

M e d i a R e l e a s eC O M M O N W tA U H W P A R T M tN f OT R A N S P O R T A N D R E G IO N A L S E R V IC E S INEFFECTIVE LOOKOUT CAUSED SHIP COLLISION

22 December 1998

An ineffective lookout aboard both the Panamanian bulk carrier Eternal Wind and the fishing vessel Melina T was the main cause of a collision between the two vessels, according to a report released today. ,

The Marine Incident Investigation Unit of the Department of Transport and Regional Services investigated the collision which occurred on the morning of 5 April 1998.

Eternal Wind was northbound from Port Kembla to Japan, in conditions of good visibility, when it collided with the fishing vessel Melina T, headed westerly towards Mooloolaba, on the Sunshine Coast. The fishing vessel sank after the collision and the four crewmembers were picked up by the bulk carrier.

The investigation found that: • the watch officer aboard Eternal Wind had stopped keeping a lookout when he had started to check an error on the compass. He did not see Melina T until just before the collision; • the seaman watchkeeper had been assigned duties on the main deck and so was

not immediately available to keep a lookout, while the watch officer was otherwise engaged; • the watch officer placed undue reliance on the radar for keeping a lookout; • the deckhand on watch aboard Melina T did not see Eternal Wind until it had

closed to two miles and then did not keep an eye on the vessel to ascertain whether there was a risk of collision; and • the Melina T's skipper, contrary to his normal procedures, had not instructed the deckhand to call him whenever another vessel was sighted.

The collision occurred on the high seas and any subsequent action is a matter for the Panama Registry and the Queensland authorities. The owners of the two vessels may also seek redress for any damages through civil action.

Copies of the report can be obtained from the Marine Incident Investigation Unit, GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601, telephone: 02 6274 6088.