The Hyundai Komipo ran into rough waters shortly after departing the RG Tanna Coal Terminal when it lost power yesterday afternoon. Three Smit Lamnalco tug boats helped tow the vessel back.
The Hyundai Komipo ran into rough waters shortly after departing the RG Tanna Coal Terminal when it lost power yesterday afternoon. Three Smit Lamnalco tug boats helped tow the vessel back. Smit Lamnalco

'BIZARRE': Entourage of tug boats rescues powerless coal ship

IT WAS a rare sight to see when a ship laden with coal was towed by three individual tug boats this weekend.

The Hyundai Komipo ran into rough waters shortly after departing the RG Tanna Coal Terminal when it lost power yesterday afternoon.

It is understood the large vessel was on its way through the shipping channel between Tannum Sands and Facing Island when it lost power.

Tannum resident and retired Volunteer Marine Rescue worker, Greg Klease said he saw the whole thing unfold from the Tannum Sands Lookout.

"It was pretty far away but we noticed it slowing down as it was going out to sea," he said.

"I thought that was pretty unusual in itself."

But things became even more "bizarre" when Mr Klease saw three tug boats travelling toward the ship after it came to a stand still.

"That's when I knew something really wasn't right," he admitted.

Three tugs wouldn't usually come out to a coal ship fully loaded.

Mr Klease said in his more than 20 years living at Tannum and volunteering for VMR, this was only the third time he had seen such a strange sight.

"The tugs were escorting it ... mothering it back," he said.

The last out-of-the-

ordinary things the local saw was about 12 years ago when a tanker's anchor accidentally fell down.

"It was anchored out where all the ships wait to come in," he recalled.

"The anchor's chain ended up having to be cut off!"

One of the three Smit Lamnalco tugs was "made fast in active resort mode", according to managing director David Fethers.

The escort mode described is understood to be very similar to what would occur during the transit of an LNG vessel.

While Mr Fethers confirmed "the vessel departed CCF4 (Clinton Coal No. 4) at 3.30pm," he said he wasn't told why the ship had stopped.

"The tugs act under pilot's orders and our focus is always on what the tugs are doing," he added.

According to a ship tracking app, the Hyundai Komipo regained power during the towing operation.

It left for Boryeong, Korea yesterday.


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