Stern lines separated by storm

‘The stern of the bulk carrier AAL Fremantle touched the rail bridge, damaging some scaffolding and cutting an electrical line,’ Fremantle Port Authority (FPA) spokeswoman Ainslie de Vos said.

The passenger and heavy freight bridge was also hit and closed by the fuel barge Parmelia 1 as it left its adjacent mooring spot three years ago.

AAL Fremantle, an 18,000-tonne, 149m-long general cargo carrier, and the 200m-long, 59,000 tonne car carrier Grand Pioneer were being offloaded in adjacent berths at the eastern end of the port’s northern wharf when a 60-knot squall hit during a cold front.

Mrs de Vos said the wind caused the ships’ stern lines to ‘pull apart’, before the AAL Fremantle’s stern swung , ‘nudged’ the side of the apparently undamaged Parmelia 1, and hit the bridge.

The AAL Fremantle and the Grand Pioneer both remain attached to the wharf by their bow lines.

Port tugs and two ships’ pilots secured the vessels by 3am the following morning when the AAL Fremantle was taken to Victoria Quay for inspection at the start of an FPA investigation.

The bridge was inspected by Perth Transport Authority, while buses connected Fremantle with North Fremantle train stations.