Pacific Venturer Disaster A Lesson In Lashing

Lashing or the lack of it was one of the main factors behind the massive oil spill of Moreton Bay Queensland in 2009

In a release by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) today, the Govt urged shipping operators to regularly check and replace their container lashing equipment as a result of an incident involving the Hong Kong registered container ship Pacific Adventurer.

"On 11 March 2009, Pacific Adventurer lost 31 containers overboard during severe weather and large swells off Cape Moreton, Queensland. As the unsecured containers went overboard, they holed two of the ship's fuel oil bunker tanks. This caused the ship to leak 270 tonnes of bunker oil into the sea which affected 70kms of Queensland's coastline," ATSB reported.

The investigation found the lashing gear was in poor condition and their cargo was not properly secured, especially for the bad weather expected.

Jim Boyle, MUA told ABC Radio the union has been demanding tougher shipping regulations to prevent a repeat of the massive oil spill off Qld two years ago for some time.

He stressed that that ships need to be lashed properly and the union has been protesting for some time. 

MUA members in the port of Newcastle lashed the vessel according to the masters instructions, Jim Boyle said, but these were found lacking,

Lashing is a major issue with several incidents in recent times when waterside workers have been ordered off a ship before lashing is complete and the vessel has left port without its cargo secured.

For example:

MSC Krittikawas, FEB 2010
Da He, AUGUST 2010

"Unsecure shipping containers pose a major threat to life, property and the environment," the report said.

A copy of the Pacific Adventurer investigation report (MO-2009-002) is available on the ATSB website.