TUG TROU­BLE

In­ves­ti­ga­tion into har­bour crash that caused $500,000 in dam­age

The Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Te­gan An­nett te­gan.an­nett@glad­sto­neob­server.com.au

A TUG boat crash that caused $500,000 worth of dam­age is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the na­tion’s peak mar­itime safety body.

Mar­itime Safety Queens­land and the Aus­tralian Mar­itime Safety Author­ity have launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter two tugs col­lided in the Glad­stone Har­bour.

The col­li­sion of the two Smit Lam­nalco tugs on June 9 caused mi­nor in­juries to two men and $500,000 worth of dam­age to the boats in­volved.

While tow­ing an LNG car­rier a “me­chan­i­cal fail­ure” caused the two tugs to col­lide, ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tions show.

Two men on board one of the tugs, be­lieved to be the Kulla­roo, were taken to hospi­tal with mi­nor in­juries.

“Two crew who re­ceived mi­nor in­juries at­tended hospi­tal as a pre­cau­tion and were later re­leased,” a Trans­port and Main Roads spokesper­son said.

While the cause of the ac­ci­dent is still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, the spokesper­son said it’s be­lieved a “me­chan­i­cal fail­ure” con­tributed.

In an email ob­tained by The Observer from Smit Lam­nalco to em­ploy­ees, the com­pany de­scribed it as a “se­ri­ous in­ci­dent”.

It’s be­lieved MSQ and AMSA have since per­formed full in­spec­tions of the tug boat ves­sels in Glad­stone.

In the email, Smit Lam­nalco asked em­ploy­ees to present their ves­sels to MSQ and AMSA in a “pro­fes­sional man­ner”.

A Smit Lam­nalco spokesman said the col­li­sion was caused by a me­chan­i­cal fail­ure that re­sulted in “a frac­ture to a cool­ing water pipe”.

“The star­board main en­gine was shut down by the au­to­matic high tem­per­a­ture pro­tec­tion sys­tem due to the loss of cool­ing water from the frac­tured pipe,” he said.

He said the crash caused $500,000 of dam­age.

“The tug suf­fered in­den­ta­tion to the hull plat­ing on the port side and a num­ber of bent frames be­hind the dam­aged hull plat­ing,” the spokesman said.

“The tug’s cap­tain, now op­er­at­ing on one en­gine, was un­able to avoid col­li­sion with one of the other tugs as­sist­ing the ship.”

The two crew mem­bers were on the tug’s stair­way dur­ing the col­li­sion.

“Changes have been made to the in­spec­tion and main­te­nance pro­ce­dures for these cou­plings and a pro­tec­tive guard is be­ing in­stalled around each cou­pling,” the spokesper­son said.

“Smit Lam­nalco man­age­ment and staff are work­ing hard to es­tab­lish and im­ple­ment pre­ven­tive ac­tions in order to avoid a re­cur­rence of this in­ci­dent.”

A Trans­port and Main Roads spokesper­son said fur­ther ac­tion will de­pend on in­ves­ti­ga­tion find­ings.

❝ Two crew who re­ceived mi­nor in­juries at­tended hospi­tal.

THE Tug ship Kullaro in the ma­rina.

PHOTO: MATT HAR­RIS

DAMGED: The tug ship Kulla­roo af­ter the col­li­sion.

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