Coronial inquest into why tugboat sank, killed captain

The tugboat Adonis, that sank killing its captain, is refloated.
The tugboat Adonis, that sank killing its captain, is refloated. Chrissy Harris

THE tugboat Adonis sank in Gladstone harbour and the question why is key to a coronial inquest being held into the death of Dudley Jacobs that started yesterday in Gladstone.

The captains of the two tugs involved in the tragedy have given conflicting evidence on speed or if one told the other to slow down.

Capt Jacobs, 64, a experienced skipper and Gladstone marine pilot, drowned in the capsize near the mouth of the Calliope River on June 11, 2011 when the Adonis and a second Sea Swift tugboat, Wolli, (contracted to Bechtel) had a water barge under tow.


>> Date set for inquest into tugboat skipper death

>> Union to launch petition calling for inquest into boat death

>> Bureau releases report on Gladstone tug rollover death

In evidence before the Coroner, David O'Connell, the issue of girding was raised where the under-tow barge began overtaking the Adonis causing the tow line to be pulled at 90 degrees just prior to Adonis being pulled over and sinking.

A safety hook mechanism to allow the tow line cable to be dropped if there was a problem had been in the locked position and not released.

Maritime Safety senior investigator Kevin Schinder said a Marine Execution Plan (MEP) was done that specifically outlined what each vessel was meant to be doing.

Anthony Phipps was the master of the tug Wolli at the time of the accident.
Anthony Phipps was the master of the tug Wolli at the time of the accident. Ross Irby

This was not adhered to and instead a line was put over the stern of the Adonis.

Mr Schinder said Capt Jacobs was there to observe Wolli captain Anthony 'Tony' Phipps but had been on Adonis at the time.

Adonis skipper Sean Beardon, said the tug had "quite a tendency" to lean over more than other boats because of its narrow beam.

He said the harbour master had required two tugs in case anything happened to one tug so as to avoid damaging the Clinton wharves.

Mr Beardon said they were travelling at six knots (speed over ground) and he called Mr Phipps three times on UHF radio telling him to slow down but he did not.

He said the Wolli had control of the speed they did.

Mr Beardon said as the barge (on a short tow of 41m) began to come alongside the Ad

Sean Beardon, who was aboard the ill-fated Adonis when it sank, leaves the Gladstone Courthouse after giving his witness summary at the inquest.
Sean Beardon, who was aboard the ill-fated Adonis when it sank, leaves the Gladstone Courthouse after giving his witness summary at the inquest. Ross Irby

onis he had no steering before colliding with the port side of the Wolli and capsizing.

He said Mr Jacobs had been on his ill-fated tug instead of the Wolli because he and Mr Phipps had not been getting on - "Tony was butting heads with Dudley".

Mr Phipps said speed was "not an issue", saying he had not received any calls to slow.

He said Adonis was on "a slack line" when he saw it keep going toward port. He said he had reduced his engine revs.

Topics:  coronial inquest, inquest, investigation, tugboat

16-yo Gladstone model knows what she wants and is on her way to getting it

Gladstone girl Josie McAullay won the 2015 Miss Country Girl Australia Gladstone preliminary and will be representing Gladstone in September at the MCGA National Final against 79 other hopefuls from around Australia.

Laidback 16-year-old Gladstone model dreams of life by sea.

Gladstone man charged after search warrent reveals alleged drug lab

Police from the Gladstone Criminal Investigation Branch have charged a man after locating an alleged clandestine drug lab in Gladstone Central yesterday.

At 9am police executed a search warrant at a Central Lane address.

Busy Gladstone facility to receive $3m revamp

Community and youth development officer Bec Frost is really happy about the new funding for the PCYC. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer

The expansion will boost jobs too, with a "locals first” focus.

Latest deals and offers

What's on the small screen this week

Bella Frizza in a scene from the TV series Married At First Sight.

THE Block's $65,000 bathroom is revealed and strangers marry.

MOVIE REVIEW: Life on the Road

Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith and Foregone Conclusion (Steve Clarke, Andy Burrows, Stuart Baxter Wilkinson, Michael Clarke) in a scene from David Brent: Life on the Road.

Ricky Gervais has brought David Brent back to life on the big screen

Jessica Alba wants tequila shots served at her funeral

Businesswoman and actor Jessica Alba

There won't be mourning at this funeral

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Gladstone landlords in trouble with Bechtel job losses

"If a big project was announced tomorrow I wouldn't want to see it"