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The Stranding of the Pasha Bulker – Nobby’s Beach, Newcastle, Friday June 8th - 2007
The 225 metre long 40,000 tonne bulk carrier Pasha Bulker became grounded on Nobbys Beach near the entrance to Newcastle Harbour on Friday June 8th 2007 at around 9.15am when she was hit by heavy seas. One of sixty bulk carriers waiting to load coal from Australia’s major bulk coal seaport, she had been anchored three miles offshore when she lifted anchor and attempted to head seawards in the midst of the strongest East Coast Low in 30 years which had produced massive seas. She had been one of ten vessels not to act on earlier Port Authority warnings to head to sea in the face of the impending storm. When she finally did empty her ballast water and lift anchor the Pasha Bulker was unable to move seawards because of the force of the 8-12 metre waves and galeforce winds, subsequently running aground 50 metres off the beach near Big Ben Reef, just south of the Newcastle Port entrance. The 22 man crew was rescued by helicopter and over the next 48 hours massive waves crashed into and over the ship and the bow swung towards Nobbys Beach, a couple of hundred metres north of Newcastle Ocean Baths. The area became incredibly congested with sightseers and eventually a full water and land lockdown of the site was put in place on June 22nd -the day after these images were shot. Arriving at 3.00pm we were very fortunate to have had access to the first part of Nobbys breakwall to be able to photograph the ship under spectacular cloud and sunset conditions with a distant rainbow to add to the stunning scene. The salvage operation got underway in earnest on June 28th in 4 metres swells with 3 huge sea anchors placed some 400 metres seaward from the boat with long chains connected to large winches on the vessels decks. Aided by 3 powerful tugs the Pasha Bulker was able to winch itself 180 degrees to face the open sea over a couple of nights of high tides. Several broken tug cables and a dislodged anchor seriously hampered the operation over the first few nights but on the 3rd night, Wednesday July 2nd at 9.37 she noiselessly and unceremoniously dragged herself off the beach at the height the king tide totally surprising everybody including a growing body of sceptics. By 9.41m she was 500 metres offshore and subsequently towed some distance off Nobbys Beach where divers were able to inspect the damage to her rudder and superstructure. A few days later she was able to proceed into Newcastle Harbour for repairs. The flat bottom on the boat aided the operation with the main damage, buckling and stress fractures and a known breach of the hull as a result of the massive seas it had to contend with since its grounding on June 8th. Fuel pollution had always been a major concern but fortunately only a small amount of oil actually escaped through the propeller shaft and caused no significant environmental damage. After 3 weeks of maintenance in Newcastle Harbour where huge metal beams were welded to the buckled hull the Pasha Bulker was towed out to sea on Thursday 26th July at 11.00am by the giant salvage tug-Koyo Maru, bound for an undisclosed Asian Port for repairs. The ship has since been renamed and is once more plying the world’s oceans. The city of Newcastle was relieved to see the back of the Pasha Bulker even though she provided a massive tourism boost to the region during her stay.
Greenpeace saw an opportunity on June 27th, just prior to the successful salvage, to promote its global warming agenda by using laser beams to write the message-"Coal causes Climate Change Chaos" across the bows.

Categories & Keywords
Category:Transportation
Subcategory:Ships
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:australia, beach, beach, black diamond images, bulk carrier,coal,newcastle,, clouds, damage, disaster, fort scratchley, grounded, hunter river, nobbys, ocean, pasha bulker, port, rainbow, ship, sinking, storm, stranded, sunset, swell

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Guestbook for Pasha Bulker-Day Before Salvage Lockdown
1.Margaret(non-registered)
Great documentation of this event, Terry. Thanks for telling the tale in both words and pictures.
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