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.