AN LPG tanker that lost its propeller in Bass Strait in early February and has since remained in sheltered anchorage off the Victorian coast will be towed to Singapore for repairs.

The Panama-flag, 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.

The propeller sheared off during pre-arrival engine testing while approaching the port of Hastings in Western Port, according to AMSA. The vessel anchored near Phillip Island until tugs Svitzer Lynx from Hastings and Svitzer Albatross from Geelong could take it to the Cowes anchorage.

DCN understands Pacific Tug’s P.T.Fortitude is now en route from Brisbane and is expected to arrive on Monday [26 February].

An AMSA spokesperson said Bougainville remained at the Cowes anchorage with local tug support available at one hour’s notice if needed.  

“AMSA is satisfied the ship is safe in its current location. AMSA and the Regional Harbour Master will continue to monitor local weather forecasts and can require tug attendance at the vessel should environmental conditions indicate it is warranted,” the spokesperson said. 

“The owners have located a suitable tug to tow the vessel from its current location to an overseas repair facility and have entered into a commercial agreement for this to happen. 

“We are hopeful that the vessel will depart Hasting under tow by the end of February, or within the first week of March.  

The crew are reported to be safe and well, and the vessel has been reprovisioned with food and water, AMSA said. The authority earlier reported Bougainville (4256 GT, built 2014) had approximately 1000 tonnes of propane on board. It is not known if this will be discharged before the tow begins.