THE Portland Bay story was one of danger, heroism and disaster averted.

On the morning of Monday 4 July, the bulk carrier was in imminent danger of grounding on the rocks of the Royal National Park, south of Botany Bay.

The vessel had lost power after leaving Port Kembla the previous afternoon, and over the course of the night drifted perilously close to the rocks.

The tug Diamantina arrived at about 10 am and over the next four hours the tug, its crew and the crew of the Portland Bay kept the ship from dashing on the rocks, even as it inched towards the shore over the course of the morning.

After four hours, the Diamantina was joined by tugs Bullara and Martinique.

The three tugs then, over the night and into the morning of Tuesday 5 July, attempted to pull Portland Bay out to deeper and safer waters, but a parted tow line on Bullara put an end to that plan.

In the meantime, the tug Glenrock had arrived from Newcastle and joined the effort to keep the bulker safe.

It was then decided by those co-ordinating the rescue efforts at the Port Authority of NSW’s offices at Port Botany to bring the ship to Bate Bay, just off Cronulla, where it dropped anchor.

On Wednesday 6 July Portland Bay was towed safely to a berth at Port Botany, where it remained until repairs were carried out and it was able to proceed.

In the days following the incident, praise for the heroic efforts of the crews on the tugs and the ship came from many quarters.

Federal minister for infrastructure and transport Catherine King said thanks to the efforts of the mariners, tug crews and rescue crews, disaster was averted.

The tug crews involved in the rescue received many well-deserved accolades, including the Newsmaker of the Year Award and the Maritime Services Award at the DCN 2022 Shipping & Maritime Industry Awards.