A GAS tanker which lost its propeller off the Victorian coast late last week faces a likely long wait for a tow to a repair yard.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority today confirmed the Panama-flagged LPG tanker Bougainville (4256 GT, built 2014) experienced loss of propulsion during pre-arrival main engine testing as it prepared to berth at Hastings in Western Port. It was later revealed to have lost its propeller, which is said to have sheared off.

The vessel was holding anchor near Phillip Island, Bass Strait until emergency towage vessels Svitzer Lynx from Hastings and Svitzer Albatross from Geelong could arrive on the scene. 

Bougainville has now been towed to the sheltered Cowes anchorage where it will remain until arrangements can be made to tow it to a suitable repair facility.  The vessel currently holds approximately 1000 tonnes of Propane gas on board.

“AMSA is working with the operator of the vessel to facilitate appropriate towage arrangements as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson said. “AMSA is confident that the operator is taking appropriate steps to achieve this in an appropriately expedient manner but anticipate that it may take a few weeks before the vessel can be safely towed out of the area. The cause of the propeller shaft failure is yet to be determined. 

“AMSA takes its role as a maritime regulator seriously and is satisfied that the vessel currently does not pose a risk to the community or the marine environment.” 

The 5000 cu m capacity Bougainville is one of several LPG carriers Franco/Swiss-owned Geogas Group uses to distribute gas throughout East Coast Australia, PNG, NZ and the Pacific Islands and operated through Sydney-based Oceangas services.

It is registered to Sansha Shipping SA and managed by Geogas Trading SA of Geneva.