November 22, 2023 | Susan Napier-Sewell

Product Tanker CSC Friendship Swept Away at Brisbane Wharf

CSC Friendship

The ATSB (Australian Transport Safety Bureau) has released a preliminary report from its ongoing investigation into the breakaway and grounding of a product tanker, CSC Friendship, in the Port of Brisbane during flooding on February 27, 2022.

The preliminary report concerning the CSC Friendship outlines factual information established through the transport safety investigation’s early evidence collection phase. It does not include analysis or findings, which will be detailed in the ATSB’s final report.

The Hong Kong-flagged product tanker CSC Friendship was alongside the Ampol Products Wharf in Brisbane, loaded with 25,000 tons of diesel oil and 7,000 tons of gasoline for a voyage to Adelaide, on the evening of February 27, 2022.

A low-pressure system and associated rain and wind was impacting the greater Brisbane area, resulting in significant flooding of the Brisbane River.

At about 10:50 pm, during an increased ebb tidal flow in the river, one of the ship’s stern lines parted suddenly. This increased the load on the 13 remaining mooring lines which, over the following 90 minutes, also failed.

During this time, the crew of the CSC Friendship used the main engine and an anchor in an attempt to arrest the ship’s movement, and a number of harbor tugs attended to assist.

CSC Friendship

Despite these efforts, the ship broke away from the berth at about 12:28 am on February 28, was swept downstream, and grounded to the east of Clara Rock beacon at Lytton Rocks Reach.

About half an hour later, a harbor pilot arrived by launch and boarded the grounded ship via the ship’s pilot ladder.

The pilot quickly established the ship was aground with the port quarter on the bank, bow slightly in the channel, and head down river.

Over the next four hours, the pilot attended the ship and, working with the ship’s crew and tugs, refloated it at 5:30 am. During the refloating efforts, the ship grounded a second and third time.

After refloating, CSC Friendship was moved downriver and anchored at Brisbane’s ship-to-ship transfer anchorage at about 6:45. Subsequent inspections confirmed some shell plate damage, including buckling and medium to heavy abrasion of the hull, but no hull penetration or cracking of plate or welds.

The ship then traveled to Port Botany to discharge its cargo, before sailing to China for dry dock and repair.

The ATSB’s continuing investigation will examine weather and flood conditions prior to and during the breakaway and grounding, the effectiveness of the port procedures, operational guidance and interagency communications during a flood event, and the mooring arrangements relevant to this incident.

Investigators will also review internal and external shipboard communication systems, analyse relevant human factors, and verify, interpret, and analyse recorded data.

Read the ATSB (Australian Transport Safety Bureau) report MO-2022-003: Breakaway and grounding involving CSC Friendship, Port of Brisbane, Queensland, on 27 February 2022.

Source: ATSB, “ATSB releases Port of Brisbane product tanker breakaway and grounding preliminary report,” February 27, 2022.

Image source: Image by Gerhard Traschütz from Pixabay.

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Accident, Investigations
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