MV Iron Baron (1985)

MV Iron Baron (formerly MV Ocean Express and MV Irrawaddy) was a 37,557 dwt bulk carrier built in 1985. It was chartered by BHP Shipping in 1990.

History
Name: MV Iron Baron
Owner: Wallaby Shipping SA[1]
Operator: BHP Shipping[2]
Port of registry: , Australia[3]
Builder: Kurashima Dockyards, Onishi, Japan[1]
Laid down: 1985[1]
Launched: 1985[2]
Identification: IMO number: 853686[1]
Status: Scuttled off Flinders Island, 30 July 1995[2]
General characteristics
Type: bulk carrier[2]
Tonnage: 37,557 DWT[2]
Length: 188.02 m (616.9 ft) [1]
Beam: 28 m (92 ft)[1]
Draught: 15.4 m (51 ft)[1]
Crew: 18[1]

On 10 July 1995 it was nearing the end of a voyage transporting 24,000 tonnes of manganese ore from Groote Eylandt via Port Kembla to the port of Launceston in northern Tasmania, Australia. Weather conditions at the time were north-westerly 37–46 km/h (20–25 knot) winds and two-metre seas. It grounded on Hebe Reef as it approached the mouth of the Tamar River and began leaking bunker fuel oil. The crew was safely evacuated.[2]

On 16 July the Iron Baron was refloated and moved to an offshore anchorage. Underwater inspections confirmed that it had incurred major structural damage and was continuing to deteriorate. With further bad weather predicted, it was decided by BHP to dump the ship. It was towed to an approved disposal site 85 kilometres (53 mi) east of Flinders Island where it sank on 30 July.[2]

Oil spill

An estimated 325 tonnes of heavy bunker fuel oil[4] was spilled from the vessel in the course of its grounding, refloating and towing to the disposal ground.

Several beaches and islands in north-eastern Tasmania were affected and a major clean-up and wildlife rescue effort was undertaken.[2] Little penguins were especially badly affected with 1894 oiled birds collected for treatment and rehabilitation.[4] An estimated 2000–6000 were killed at Ninth Island alone.[2][5] In 2001, penguin fatalities were estimated at between 10,000 and 20,000 birds.[4] In 2005, a 10-year post-mortem reflection on the incident revised the figure upwards, estimating penguin fatalities at 25,000.[6]

References

  1. "View Shipwreck - Iron Baron". Australian National Shipwreck Database. Department of the Environment (Australia). Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  2. Australian Maritime Safety Authority – Major Oil Spills in Australia: Iron Baron, Hebe Reef, Tasmania, 10 July 1995
  3. https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/1995/mair/mair83/
  4. Davidson, Steven (1 October 2001). "Penguins and oil don't mix". ECOS. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  5. Brothers, Nigel; Pemberton, David; Pryor, Helen; & Halley, Vanessa. (2001). Tasmania’s Offshore Islands: seabirds and other natural features. Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery: Hobart. ISBN 0-7246-4816-X
  6. "Shipping industry reflects on Iron Baron spill" ABC News (2005-07-10). Retrieved 2014-01-27.


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