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

Date set for inquest into tugboat skipper death

ALMOST four years after Dudley Jacobs drowned in the Gladstone Harbour, a coronial inquest into his death will be held.

A pre-inquest conference in Mackay yesterday heard 26 witnesses could be called to give evidence.

The 64-year-old died after the tugboat he was captaining capsized while towing a water barge at the mouth of the Calliope River on Saturday, June 11, 2011.


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It was unclear was caused the tugboat, named Adonis, to roll and sink.

The Observer previously reported the Adonis had experienced a steering problem and girded - the towline pulling at right angles to the fore and aft line of the tug in a manner likely to cause a capsize - before it capsized.

Captain Jacobs was one of four men on board.

Water police were able to locate and rescue three men, but Captain Jacobs couldn't be found.

His body was retrieved from the water by the Queensland Police dive team on the Sunday.

The inquest, under Central Queensland Coroner David O'Connell, will investigate four issues surrounding Captain Jacobs' death, including how and why the tugboat capsized and what steps should be taken to prevent similar incidents from occurring.

It will be held over five days in Gladstone from July 6 to 10.

The Maritime Union has always supported the decision to hold the inquest, even making a public appeal for a coronial investigation into the matter back in 2013.

"It has always been clear to maritime workers that there needs to be a coronial inquest to get to the bottom of this matter," Maritime Union Queensland branch secretary Mick Carr said.

"We sincerely hope this can help bring some closure for Captain Jacob's family and that safety at the Port of Gladstone can be improved so that all workers arrive home safely at the end of every shift."