Safety first sees Tasman Bridge transit aborted

The protection of human life, marine assets and the environment will always be critical considerations for vessel movements in Tasmanian waters.


28 February 2024

Marine safety will always be TasPorts’ number one priority and that’s because we can’t always predict when even the best vessels with the most experienced masters are likely to encounter problems.

That was the case this morning shortly after the vessel The Sheriff departed Selfs Point, north of the Tasman Bridge.

TasPorts Harbour Master, Captain Mick Wall said the vessel, was underway at approximately 5.45am having undertaken all its normal pre-departure safety checks.

"During manoeuvring the Master immediately reported a mechanical problem with a main engine fuel injector and following the advice of the TasPorts pilot on board, made the decision to abort the Tasman Bridge transit just before the ‘point of no return,” Captain Wall said."

“With tug assistance, the vessel safely berthed back at Selfs Point and commenced undertaking investigation and repairs.”

Captain Wall praised the ship and vessel master, chief engineer and crew for working closely and collaboratively with TasPorts marine pilot.

“All instructions and requirements were followed quickly and decisively and there’s no doubt that helped to ensure maximum control was maintained,” he said.

He also acknowledged the highly experienced, well-trained TasPorts marine pilot for their efficient response to the situation.

The Tasman Bridge is regarded as one of Tasmania’s most significant and critical pieces of transport infrastructure, forming part of the key urban freight and passenger corridors in Hobart linking the eastern and western suburbs of the city.

Captain Wall said the safe transit of any large vessel under the Tasman Bridge is a highly complex operation subjected to its own legislation designed to protect the States asset.

“Each successful transit requires precision planning and execution across three distinct areas – environmental conditions, a vessel’s configuration and performance, and a team of highly skilled mariners all working together,” he said.

“Vessel transits under the Tasman Bridge must comply with the prescribed port parameters as stipulated in the Marine and Safety (Pilotage and Navigation) Regulations 2017 and documented in the TasPorts Ports Procedure Manual.”