News

Tug boat capsize and death was 'entirely avoidable'

CAPTAIN Dudley Jacobs drowned in Gladstone harbour on June 11, 2011.

A coronial inquest into his death found the fatal capsize of the Adonis tug boat and Capt Jacobs death to be "entirely avoidable".

But Coroner David O'Connell found no person to be directly responsible.

Capt Jacobs died when he became trapped in the wheelhouse during the capsize near the mouth of the Calliope River.

Mr O'Connell found the primary cause of the tug boat capsize was a failure by two tug masters Sean Bearden (Adonis) and Anthony "Tony" Phipps (Wolli aka Aphros) to adhere to a Marine Execution Plan (MEP) put in place by owners Sea Swift shipping for client Bechtel.

Then as Adonis capsized during a towing of a barge there had been a failure of an emergency tow release.

The more powerful tug Aphros had been the primary tug while the Adonis was only required to assist. In the plan it was to be secured by a bowline secured to the forward port side quarter of the barge and once under way the Adonis would simply "fold back" alongside the barge and be pulled along by the barge.

Instead an ill fated decision was made to tow over the stern which Mr O'Connell said was a significant risk when towing a non-powered craft.

Mr O'Connell found this was one of a number of departures from considered appropriate work practices. He states excessive speed was clearly a factor with an appropriate speed to have been 6kn.

Mr O'Connell found that the vessels tracking system AIS showed they were moving at a speed of more than eight knots.

"The capsizing was an entirely avoidable incident had the masters of the tugs simply adhered to the MEP," Mr O'Connell found.

"The tug Capt Jacobs was travelling on 'girded' when the towline moves from pulling over the stern, to pulling over the side of the tug.

"It is dangerous because it causes the tug to roll over, or capsize, very quickly."

The MEP had been the only plan approved by then Harbourmaster Capt Mike Lutze and yet after successfully practiced the masters departed from this which Mr O'Connell calls "very perplexing".

"In practical terms no amount of training or guidance can prevent an incident where individuals simply choose to ignore the established safe method for operation of work," Mr O'Connell states. "The course of events which led to the capsize of the tug Adonis was that masters of both vessels, at the instigation of Master Phipps, was to depart from the MEP, and instead implement an over-the-stern tow for the tug Adonis.

"This was inappropriate in the circumstances, and entirely contrary to the authorised, and already then practised, approach set out in the MEP."

He found there had been discussion essentially between Master Phipps (the more senior master) and Master Bearden for a change to an over-the-stern tow.

He states that from evidence given, the only point raised by Master Bearden was to ensure that their speed was kept down so he could move appropriately as required.

He said evidence from Master Bearden was that he radioed Master Phipps three times to slow down. However, Master Phipps evidence was there had been one call and he was never asked to slow.

Mr O'Connell said this evidence needed to be resolved and the failure to slow down "perplexing" but he was unable to determine whether slowing would have prevented the capsizing.

Capt Jacobs was not a master that day, acting only as an assessing "check" pilot to Master Bearden.

Topics:  capsize coronial inquest gladstone harbour



Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Science Festival seriously awesome

Don't miss the World Science Festival Brisbane!

CALLING everyone who wants to see something totally cool.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Top five things to experience this summer in Brisbane

Tangalooma is amazing if you're keen for a dive, kayak or swim.

THIS summer get out and explore your capital city.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Is Brisbane the new arts and culture capital?

Check out GOMA's latest exhibition - it's all about hair! GOMA 10 Ambassador Patience Hodgson visits Nervescape V 2016 by Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir (aka Shoplifter), commissioned for ‘Sugar Spin: you, me, art and everything’ at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. 
Photograph: Natasha Harth, QAGOMA

THE rest of the world should be envious of this line-up!

'March madness': 700 tradies needed for immediate work

JOBS LIST: Finding it tough going in the jobs market? Here are a few jobs you can apply for today.

LOADS of mining and constructions jobs are up for grabs.

'Can't get worse': Business owner banking on massive project

Hummock Hill Island is located about an hours drive south of Gladstone.

GLADSTONE business is "doing it tough" after hoards of FIFOs left.

25 amazing food experiences you have to try in Gladstone

Diceys Seafood Plate is a food fave

Nacho burgers, turkish delight panna cottas, huge parmies ...

Local Partners

Furious Price wants to quit I'm a Celeb after clash with Keira

AN IRATE Steve Price has threatened to quit I'm A Celebrity after a series of drama-filled clashes with Keira Maguire.

Novel with lots of heart

The romance in A Quiet Kind of Thunder was only one of the joys of the book.

Book proves to be a gem with layers

'Naked steaming eyes': you will be screaming for more

ROCKING ON: The Screaming Jets will have the Gladstone crowd screaming for more when they perform on Saturday at Harvey Road Tavern from 8pm.

'Naked steaming eyes': global band arrives on Saturday

Bliss N Eso announce tribute show for stuntman

Bliss N Eso will play a tribute show at Coolangatta in honour of Johann Ofner. The stuntman died during the filming of the group's Friend Like You film clip earlier this year.

BLISS N Eso to play tribute show to raise funds for killed stuntman

MOVIE REVIEW: Trainspotting sequel as good as original

Ewen Bremner in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

Director Danny Boyle proves sequels can be done well.

Rocket man is rocketing past Gladstone

August's Morning Melodies is titled Rocket Man - a unique and entertaining salute to Sir Elton John, one of the most iconic music figures of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Rocket man is rocketing past Gladstone

How Karl Stefanovic's wife, kids found out about girlfriend

Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough after their day on Sydney Harbour. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Pictures splashed across tabloid were shock to family

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Massive seaside development of 3200 lots

DESIRABLE LIFESTYLE: The masterplan for the proposed Elliott Heads Estate.

"There's nothing else left along the coastline of Queensland now"

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!