Grounding of Tauranga Chief

An execution error by the helmsman of a ship led to a ship running aground in Sydney Harbour. The Maltese registered general cargo ship Tauranga Chief ran aground on a mud/sand patch just south of Bradleys Head light in the middle of Sydney Harbour at 0339 in the morning of 17 January 2003.

Grounding of Francoise Gilot

At 0541 on 9 May 2008, the Antigua and Barbuda registered container ship Francoise Gilot grounded while transiting the South Channel, Port Phillip, Victoria. The ship had sailed from Melbourne earlier that morning and was departing Port Phillip bound for Sydney.

Grounding of Crimson Mars

At 1400 on 1 May 2006, Crimson Mars sailed from Bell Bay, northern Tasmania with a local pilot on board. The sky was cloudy and the visibility was clear with a light south-easterly wind. During the ship’s turn to port around Garden Island, at about 1440, starboard instead of port helm was applied for approximately one minute. The error was not noticed initially and by the time maximum port helm was applied at 1441, grounding was inevitable. Soon after, the pilot ordered both anchors to be let go and the main engine to be run at emergency full astern in an attempt to reduce the effects of the impact. At 1442, the ship grounded on Long Tom Reef as the port anchor was let go and the main engine run astern.

Grounding Container vessel MSC Monica – Marine Investigation Report

On 22 January 2016, the container vessel MSC Monica ran aground on the St. Lawrence River 1 nautical mile north-northeast of Deschaillons-sur-Saint-Laurent, Quebec. The vessel was refloated the following day with the assistance of 3 tugs and proceeded to Québec, Quebec, to undergo the necessary inspections. The vessel sustained minor damage to the hull and major damage to the 4 propeller blades. There were no injuries, and no pollution was reported.

Grounding of Bosphorus – ATSB Transport Safety Report

At about 2000 on 29 October 2013, the general cargo ship Bosphorus grounded at Lytton Rocks Reach in the Brisbane River after the ship’s helmsman unintentionally put the helm the wrong way. By the time that the Brisbane Marine Pilot on board the ship realised that the helm had gone the wrong way, it was too late to prevent the ship from grounding in the narrow section of the river. There were no reported injuries, damage or pollution as a result of the grounding.

Collision of Bulk Carrier Yochow with Articulated Tug and Barge

At 0250 local time on June 13, 2018, the inbound bulk carrier Yochow collided with the articulated tug and barge OSG Independence/OSG 243, which was moored at the TPC Group, Inc. facility on the Houston Ship Channel in Houston, Texas. OSG 243’s tanks were empty and awaiting a cargo of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE). As a result of the collision, two of the barge’s tanks and Yochow’s bulbous bow were holed, and the facility suffered extensive structural damage.

Grounding of Amadeo I

18 August 2014. Kirke Canal, Punta Arenas. Struck a submerged rock. Cause: helmsman error. Deliberately grounded and partially sank. No casualties. Cargo loss and damage. Limited pollution – bunkers and lubricating oil. Environmentally sensitive tourist area

Grounding Bulk Carrier Sparna

Just before midnight on March 20, 2016, the bulk carrier Sparna was transiting outbound on the Columbia River when it departed the navigation channel and struck a rocky shallow area. No one was injured and no pollution resulted, but the grounding caused damage and flooding to the vessel’s forward tanks. Damage to the Sparna was estimated at more than $500,000 and to a nearby dock about $60,000.


Grounding of Exxon Valdez

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil spill was one of the biggest environmental disasters in history. The spill caused significant damage to the ecosystem and wildlife of Prince William Sound in Alaska, resulting in the loss of numerous livelihoods and businesses.

While the incident is often associated with the absent captain, who had a history of alcohol abuse, it is more important to focus on the navigational errors that occurred on board the Exxon Valdez. Inadequate training and communication among crew members can lead to confusion and errors in helm order execution, which can have disastrous consequences.