AN INVESTIGATION has opened into the recent grounding of pilot vessel Corsair at Port Phillip Heads.

Victoria’s Chief Investigator, Transport Safety (CTIS) is investigating the incident under an agreement with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

The Port Phillip Sea Pilots launch grounded on 5 October and subsequently broke up – the ATSB said the vessel was returning to the pilot station in Queenscliff after retrieving the pilot from an outbound ship.

“At about 2319, while transiting Port Phillip Heads, the vessel ran aground on the reef extending from Point Lonsdale,” ATSB said.

“The skipper, the deckhand and the pilot abandoned the vessel into a life raft and were rescued by Victoria Water Police.

“There were no reported injuries to the rescued persons. The pilot launch was wrecked. The shipping channel was closed during the rescue and salvage operations.”

The investigation is now in the evidence collection phase, which involves examining the recovered wreckage, interviewing witnesses, retrieving and reviewing recorded data and c of other relevant information.

If a critical safety issue is identified during the investigation, the ATSB said it would immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate safety action can be taken.

ATSB expects the investigation to be complete in the first quarter of 2024. A final report will be published at the conclusion of the investigation.