A TASMAN Bridge transit was aborted on Wednesday morning after The Sheriff experienced a mechanical problem. 

The Sheriff departed Selfs Point, north of the Tasman Bridge, at 0545 after completing all its pre-departure safety checks but soon found trouble.  

During manoeuvring, the ship’s master reported a problem with a main engine fuel injector and following the advice of the TasPorts pilot on board, made the decision to abort the Tasman Bridge transit just before the “point of no return”. 

With tug assistance, the vessel berthed back at Selfs Point where investigations and repairs took place.  

“Having a pilot onboard is an important safeguard and ensures the full risk mitigation strategies for the Tasman Bridge protections can be employed,” TasPorts harbour master Mick Wall told DCN.

“Our marine pilots are trained to identify and adapt the pilotage given the numerous effects on the vessels, including environmental factors, to transit the bridge. 

“Having full main engine manoeuvring power is crucial for a safe bridge transit.” 

The Tasman Bridge is regarded as one of Tasmania’s most significant and critical pieces of transport infrastructure, forming part of the urban freight and passenger corridors in Hobart linking the eastern and western suburbs of the city. 

“The safe transit of any large vessel under the Tasman Bridge is a highly complex operation subjected to its own legislation designed to protect the state’s asset,” Captain Wall said.

“The safety of the community, including seafarers and the safety of the road and bridge users are at the forefront of every decision.” 

Captain Wall praised the ship and vessel master, chief engineer, and crew for working closely with TasPorts. 

“All instructions and requirements were followed quickly and decisively and there’s no doubt that helped to ensure maximum control was maintained,” he said.