HMAS Adelaide smashes into Glorious Sunrise after rough weather. Picture: Lawrence Pinder
HMAS Adelaide smashes into Glorious Sunrise after rough weather. Picture: Lawrence Pinder

Australia’s largest warship broke moorings, crashed after storm

AUSTRALIA's largest warship the HMAS smashed into another ship in Townsville's Port after its mooring lines broke during a storm that struck the city on Wednesday.

A source has told the Townsville Bulletin, the warship drifted from No. 10 berth during the rough weather and collided with the Glorious Sunrise, a large cargo vessel berthed in No. 9 wharf.

The source said the captain of the merchant ship was on board when the collision happened, and had made several attempts to warn the Royal Australian Navy crew that the Adelaide was drifting away from the berth, but it's understood he did not get a response.

The Bulletin understands both ships suffered damage as a result of the impact, with the HMAS Adelaide crew manoeuvring the vessel back to its place by self-starting its engine.

Vision of the incident was captured on camera and has been watched and replayed by port staffers.

The Bulletin understands Defence will be liable for the damage sustained to the Glorious Sunrise.

The source said many at the port thought crashing into the cargo vessel fortunate as it had blocked the huge warship from "cleaning out" the smaller boats docked in the port.

"In hindsight that ship acted as a buffer. There was a sugar loader right behind it," the source said.

"If it had hit it (the sugar loader), there wouldn't be any sugar coming out of Townsville for a long time."

The source said moorings lines used by commercial vessels were usually larger and stronger because of the smaller number of crew aboard, whereas the Navy used smaller rope because of the hundreds of personnel travelling on the ship.

The Port of Townsville is yet to comment on the incident.

A spokeswoman confirmed the warship left Townsville on Thursday morning at 7.30am.

The Department of Defence has been made aware of the incident and was contacted for comment.

The Port of Townsville hosted the USS Green Bay which arrived after docking in Cairns on Tuesday.

The US military ship supported the Papua New Guinean Defence Force and provided security for the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation 2018 summit held in Port Moresby.