Border Force patrol boat crash reason revealed
AFTER almost two years, the real reason why an Australian Border Force patrol boat crashed into the Great Barrier Reef can finally be revealed.
The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau, after an investigation which took almost two years, has finally handed down its findings into the September 30, 2017, crash which caused $3 million damage to the ABFC Roebuck Bay.
The multimillion-dollar cutter became grounded at Henry Reef, off Lockhart River and suffered damage to its keel, stabiliser fins and propellers.
The ATSB revealed earlier this year the investigation had become more complex than first thought and was focusing on the electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS) technology which was the primary means of navigation at sea.
The vessel had been travelling between Saibai Island in the Torres Strait and Lizard Island when the collision occurred and it eventually had to be towed back to Cairns a week later.
In their published findings, the ATSB said the boat's route plan was amended during trip planning and inadvertently sent it straight across the reef.
Even although the ECDIS identified it as a danger, the ship's deck officers did not recognise the risk - either visually or using the device.
"The effectiveness of the officers' visual check was likely influenced by a misinterpretation of chart symbology and possible obscuration of the reef's chart symbol and label," the report said.
"In addition, the officers' expected that the ECDIS would not save a route plotted across a chart danger and had a misunderstanding of the ECDIS safety checking functions."
The investigation also found the officers did not have enough knowledge to operate the technology as the primary means of navigation.
The report said the ABF had since advised the ATSB of changes made since the collision including improved staff training.
It said the addition of ECDIS instead of paper charts had "introduced certain risks to the conduct of marine navigation".
"The ultimate goal must be to eliminate significant risks or at least reduce them to an acceptable level in terms of navigational safety," it said.