The Tasmanian Harbour Master at the port of Davenport decided this week to deny access to Tasmanian waters to an Australian-registered vessel owned by Canada’s CSL Group after the latest in a series of incidents involving the same vessel. Port officials said they were moving to protect human life, marine assets, and the environment, and that the ban would remain in place until they were satisfied that the vessel had taken appropriate actions.
Anthony Donald TasPorts CEO said they had decided to take the action after a TasPorts’ marine pilot reported a new incident that had taken place while the vessel named Goliath was departing from the port on March 6.
Built in 1993, the 30-year-old vessel is 15,539 dwt and operates transporting cement from the works at Davenport. The vessel’s operator, CSL confirmed to the Australian media that the ship “experienced a minor technical issue that was resolved within 24 hours.” Port officials are now saying that they determined Monday’s incident was “human error that led to engine failure while the vessel was departing.”
The vessel has a checkered history with Davenport. In January 2022, the same ship was making one of its normal arrivals in Davenport with the captain supervising the maneuvering. According to a subsequent report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, as the maneuver progressed, the master felt that the ship was not swinging as expected and attempted to take corrective actions but the vessel’s forward speed increased. The Goliath collided with the two moored tugs while moving at a speed of 4.7 knots causing both tugs to sink and also causing damage to the pier.
The Goliath sustained damage in that accident including deformation of the bulbous bow shell plating and internal structural members and, a non?penetrating crack in the bow’s starboard shell plate. Fortunately, none of the crew aboard the vessel were injured and no one was aboard either tug when they were struck and sank. ATSB in its preliminary report identified an incorrect steering setting during the maneuver noting that the vessel’s speed increased by more than three knots as it navigated a tight turn in the port.
TasPorts in May 2022 filed suit against CSL over the incident. They cited the extensive cleanup, difficult salvage operation, and damages to the port facilities.
ATSB said that it was not likely that this week’s incident would be investigated but they are looking into reports of issues with the Goliath’s main engine. They are also reporting on their website two instances of catastrophic failure of the main engine turbocharger that disabled the cement carrier twice in less than four and a half months. The incidents occurred, first in September 2022 in Bass Strait sailing from Newcastle to Davenport, and again in February 2023 while the vessel was sailing from Davenport to Sydney.
“The investigation report concludes that both turbocharger failures were similar and had occurred when the compressor discs burst due to overspeed. While it is not possible to state with certainty, the most likely mechanism leading to both overspeeds was a scavenge fire in the engine,” writes the ATSB.
After CSL provided the Harbour Master with a report about this week’s incident that included remedial actions, port officials reversed their decision saying the vessel would be allowed to berth in Davenport on March 10.