Strong Winds Cause Ferry to Break Free in Melbourne

Spirit of Tasmania II. Photo: Creative Commons
Spirit of Tasmania II. Photo: Creative Commons

Severe winds in Melbourne, Australia caused a 194-meter ferry to break free from its moorings on Wednesday and crash into a pier with passengers on board. 

The incident occurred when a strong wind storm blew through the Port Melbourne area, causing the Spirit of Tasmania II ferry to break its mooring lines. The bow of the ferry then crashed into the boarding ramp at Station Pier, damaging both the ramp and ship. All passengers are crew are safe.

Photos show the stern mooring lines broken, which apparently caused the stern to swing out towards shore and at a 90 degree angle to the pier.

The 28,000 tonnes ferry is one of two identical MelbourneDevonport ferries operated by Spirit of Tasmania and owned Transport Tasmania (TT Line). The operator has confirmed that the Spirit of Tasmania II is now secured alongside Station Pier in Port Melbourne and the ship will not be sailing to Devonport tonight. Passengers are being allowed to stay on the vessel overnight. Spirit of Tasmania’s second ship is currently in Devonport and will remain there until an engineer’s assessment is completed on the damage in Melbourne, the company said.

Update: TT Line says the Spirit of Tasmania I will operate a double sailing schedule to cover for the Spirit of Tasmania II. The extent of damage to the Spirit of Tasmania II is still being assessed, but the internal loading ramp is believed damaged in the incident. 

More photos of the vessel: