Article

Collisions in Sydney harbour

In a typical year, about 900 cargo and 25 passenger ships steam into Sydney harbour.  This adds to the daily local commercial traffic: ferries, water taxis, charter boats, tugs, and barges.  Sailing vessels, which according to Rule 9 cannot impede the passage of vessels which can navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway, can find the harbour a minefield.  Some examples:

1) An eight metre yacht was competing in a race in October 1999 when it apparently sailed under the bow of a commercial tanker as it entered the harbour.  The ship gave appropriate sound signals and had to alter course to avoid collision.  The master of the yacht was charged with causing danger to persons and property and violation of Rule 9. 

2) On New Year’s Day 2000, a yacht caught on the bow of a tanker was carried for hundreds of metres along the harbour.

3) In July 2000, four sailors on a yacht narrowly escaped injury as the yacht collided with a Manly ferry.  The yacht was struck by the steel bow and sunk in a manner of minutes.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 15 July 2000

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