Grounded ship’s steering ‘not checked’

A container ship’s steering system was not properly tested before an apparent malfunction caused it to run aground in Moreton Bay, an investigation has found.

The Liberian-registered MSC Basel ran aground on Yule Banks as it left Brisbane on November 1 last year.

When the crew realised the steering system was not working properly they deployed the anchor and changed the engine thrust but it was too late to prevent the grounding.

The ship suffered only minor damage and there was no breach of the hull.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau found the ship’s rudder unexpectedly moved to starboard, causing the vessel to ground just to the north of the shipping channel.

It found a malfunction of the steering control system was probably to blame and noted it had not been tested in accordance with maintenance requirements before the ship departed.

However, inspections and tests carried out after the grounding did not identify any steering control system faults.

The ATSB said it had no evidence that a detailed inspection of the steering system had since been undertaken and it remains concerned the intermittent fault has not been found and fixed.

It has instructed the crew to ensure proper checks of critical systems are carried out before departures.



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