THE LPG tanker Bougainville, which lost its propeller in Bass Strait in early February, is making its slow way to Singapore for repairs behind a Brisbane-based tug.

The vessel, which had been anchored in sheltered waters in Western Port Bay since being rescued by emergency towage vessels Svitzer Lynx from Hastings and Svitzer Albatross from Geelong, was towed out by Pacific Tug’s P T Fortitude last Thursday [29 February].

Tug and tow sheltered in Twofold Bay, Eden on the NSW south coast on Monday before departing around 0600 Wednesday morning, with the entry and exit assisted by one of Pacific Tugs’ Eden-based tugs, Wambiri.

At 1630 hours this afternoon (8 March) the tug and tow were passing Newcastle. The tug is expected to undergo a crew change off Brisbane and then bunker at Bundaberg. There is no ETA for Singapore at this time.

Bougainville’s propeller sheared off during pre-arrival engine testing while approaching the port of Hastings in Western Port, according to AMSA, and the cause of the loss was unknown. The ship remained at the Cowes anchorage with local tug support available at one hour’s notice if needed, awaiting P T Fortitude’s arrival .

“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,” a spokesperson said at the time. 

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.