LPG Carrier Towed to Safe Anchorage After Losing Propeller
Australian officials report they are monitoring the situation closely but that both the crew and the environment are not in any current danger from a disabled LPG carrier near Melbourne. The ship has been moved into a sheltered anchorage while the owners make arrangements, but it is also becoming a bit of a local tourist attraction.
The drama began last week when the vessel, the Bougainville (4,700 dwt) reported it had lost its propeller and was unable to navigate. The vessel, which is 328 feet (100 meters) in length and loaded with a cargo of LPG, was inbound from Vanuatu.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) told the local news outlet the Phillip Island & San Remo Advertiser that the vessel which was built in 2014 and is registered in Panama “sheered off” its propeller when it was conducting “pre-arrival main engine testing.”
AMSA sent an emergency vessel to rescue the LPG tanker which at the time was drifting just a few miles off Seal Rocks. They initially towed the vessel to a safer position near Flinders where it was able to anchor and wait for more favorable weather conditions.
The Bougainville was towed at mid-week arriving in the more sheltered anchorage at Cowes south of Melbourne. AMSA reports that divers were sent down and confirmed that the vessel had in fact sheered off its propeller, telling the newspaper repairs will be extensive as they will have to withdraw the shaft. According to the spokesperson, the ship’s operators and owner are currently looking for a facility capable of undertaking the work.
The ship was built in Japan and owned by the Hiyoshi Shipping Co. She operates under charter to Geogas and is managed locally in Australia by Oceangas. The reports indicate she is loaded with LPG and if full has a capacity for 5,000 cbm. She is one of several gas carriers used to supply Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific islands.