ATSB: Improper Lookout Led to Collision off Victoria

Illustration; Image Courtesy: Hapag-Lloyd

The containership Glasgow Express and fishing vessel Mako collided in August 2017 off Victoria because a proper lookout was not being maintained on either vessel, Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said in a report.

The vessels collided on the evening of August 12 some 15 nautical miles south of Cape Woolamai, Victoria. Both vessels had been on settled courses and speeds for at least 2 hours before the collision.

Despite both crews detecting and monitoring the other vessel, both vessels maintained their courses until they collided.

Glasgow Express’s bridge team saw and monitored Mako visually, however, a full appraisal of the situation using other instruments or means available on the bridge, such as radar, was not done. As a consequence, the situation was misinterpreted and the risk of collision was not identified.

Additionally, a proper lookout was not maintained on board Mako. In particular, radar was not effectively used, and little if any visual sightings were conducted after it was incorrectly assessed that Glasgow Express was passing clear.

An inspection in Melbourne identified scratch marks on Glasgow Express from Mako’s stabiliser arm, about 50 m aft of the bow on the starboard side. No other damage was found.

At the time, the 54,157 dwt containership, operated by Hapag-Lloyd, was passing Cape Liptrap heading north-west. The ship was bound for Melbourne, Victoria, and was maintaining a steady course and speed.

Following the incident, Glasgow Express’ operator undertook a fleet-wide information and education program which outlined the incident and emphasised the need to use all available means to maintain safe navigation in accordance with the collision regulations.

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