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Early on the morning of 8 June 2007, Newcastle Port Corporation radioed the 56 moored ships waiting off the coast to load coal to warn them to move out to sea to escape the approaching storm. The Pasha Bulker, along with 10 other ships, did not heed the warning. As the storm hit, the Pasha Bulker could not clear the coast and it became beached at 9:15am. The ship never called for tug assistance, ran aground with a fully operational engine room and still had both anchors stored in the hawsepipes leading some maritime experts to believe that proper precautions were not taken by the ship's captain.[5]

After the Pasha Bulker ran aground the 22 Filipino and Korean crew members aboard were successfully rescued by the Westpac Rescue helicopter service from the vessel, however it remained grounded about 30 m (98 ft) from the shore at the popular Nobbys Beach.[6] The ship was empty of any cargo at the time, awaiting to load 58,000 tonnes of coal from Newcastle Port. However, it contained around 700 tonnes of fuel oil, 38 tonnes of diesel and 40 tonnes of lube oil, which if released could have caused a major ecological disaster.

During further stormy weather, the ship was pushed onto the beach so that it was almost parallel to the beach, and both bow and stern were stuck on or in the sand. The whole ship was then completely trapped between the beach and a rocky reef. In the first week the salvage crew loaded the ship with ballast water, which sunk it lower, so that its hull was firmly on or in the seabed.



During May 1974 the New South Wales coast was being battered by large storms which brought heavy swells off both Sydney and Newcastle ports. Newcastle port reported a swell of over 17 m (56 ft) at the entrance. The Sygna was on its maiden voyage, waiting for a load of 50,000 tonnes of coal destined for Europe at the time of the accident. It was anchored 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) off Newcastle when the Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe storm warning and directive for ships to move out to sea. Seven of the ten ships anchored off Newcastle did so, however the Sygna was not one of them. The Sygna lost approximately 700 tonnes of oil during the accident. This oil was mostly dispersed by the heavy seas, and as such no cleanup or recovery action was undertaken.The stern still lies on Stockton beach and since the shipwreck it has slowly been decaying from the harsh elements in its environment, however, it remains as an icon and landmark for the local area. According to the Newcastle port authority, the Sygna is the last of 59 ships which have been lost on Newcastle shores.


LVT's Entering the water on stockton beach

At 0200h on 8 March 1954 15th Northern Rivers Lancers, together with 16th Company Royal Australian Army Service Corps, conducted an amphibious exercise from Wave Trap Beach near Camp Shortland to Mungo Brush. The weather conditions at the time were questionable but the convoy of 21 vehicles took to the open sea in their DUKWs and LVT4s. The vehicles were originally used in World War Two to transport stores and personnel from ship to shore or for river crossings. Within 45 minutes the weather conditions changed dramatically and a number of vehicles were swamped and sank with the crews forced to bail out and swim to shore. Tragically, three soldiers never made it – Corporal Moran and Trooper Mournement of 15 NRL, and Private Blackie of 16 Coy, whose body was never found. On Wednesday, 10 March 1954 a funeral with full military honours for Corporal Moran and Trooper Mournement was held in Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle. Both soldiers are buried in Sandgate Cemetery.


236 gross tons. Lbd: 127'4" x 27'2" x 7'7". Wooden steamship built along the Bellinger River, New South Wales for Langley Bros., Sydney. Of the North Coast S N Co fleet with takeover at 1925/6. Sold 1926 to F Viggers of Newcastle, NSW. Sold again date unknown to the Newcastle & Hunter River S N Co., Sydney and renamed Illalong. Wrecked upon Belmont beach, north of Newcastle 1948

10 July - 7th August 'MAIANBAR'. Employed from 10 July - 7th August 1937. This vessel was owned by the North Coast Steam Navigation Co, Sydney, who specialised in the New South Wales Northern rivers trade as well as minor ports along the New South Wales coastline. During the year Thomas Williams worked aboard her, she was under ownership change and, working from Newcastle to Newcastle, she either carried timbers for the Port Stephens Steamship as owners or farm produce from the Northern Rivers for North Coast Steamship Co as owners. Ship Data: 487 gross tons, 237 net. Lbd: 155'6" x 28'1" x 9'2". Steel twin screw passenger ship built by Ardrossan Drydock & Shipbuilding Co, Glasgow for the North Coast Steam Navigation Co, Sydney. She boasted 'electric light' and refrigeration and worked the north coast New South Wales ports. Lengthened 1920 to be of 513 gross and 229 net tons. New Lbd: 175'6" x 28'1" x 9'2". With reconstruction she had her passenger accomodation removed. 1937 sold to Port Stephens Steamship Co Ltd., Sydney and acquired 1940 again by this concern. Wrecked at Nobby's Beach off Newcastle, New South Wales after breaking from tow on a voyage Newcastle NSW to Sydney in ballast 5th May 1940


San Pan. Wooden yacht. Lost on Big Ben reef, Newcastle, 18 April 1936

The sinking of the Newcastle harbour ferry Bluebell, after colliding with the coastal freighter Waraneen in 1934, was one of the worst maritime tragedies in Newcastle, Australia during the 20th Century. Carrying between 40 and 50 passengers, the Stockton-bound ferry came into a broadside collision with the Waraneen and sank half way across the Hunter River shortly after 10:45pm on the night of 9 August 1934.[1] Although it was first thought that all passengers had been saved, it was discovered the following morning that three passengers were still unaccounted for.The ferry had jammed against the side of the freighter for a period of almost a minute before it began to sink. The brief interval allowed sufficient time for six passengers on the upper deck to scramble in to the side of the Waraneen, while the remainder jumped headlong into the water.People standing on the Newcastle wharf were unable to discern exactly what was happening in the middle of the harbour, but could hear terrified cries of women and children on board the ferry before it sank, and afterwards as they struggled frantically in the water.

URALLA 528 gros tons. Lbd: 153' x 34'6" x 8'5". Steel twin screw steamship, 59 horsepower as built at Grangmouth, England for this concern. She had sailed from Coffs Harbour on the 12th June 1928 for Sydney via Newcastle with a cargo of stringybark logs and other sawn timber. Having loaded more cargo at Newcastle the following day, and in dubious weather conditions, she headed out south for the short run to Sydney. 14th June 1928 wrecked upon Stockton beach, New South Wales after enduring gale force conditions that drove her ashore

Ajax, iron screw steamer, operated as pilot boat at Newcastle, after service, wrecked north of Stockton Bridge. Ajax was withdrawn from service on 20 December 1927, after more than 50 years service, and stripped. In 1928 her hull was run ashore on a mud bank in the Hunter River in Newcastle near Walsh Island, where her remains are still visible about 500 metres upstream from Stockton Bridge.



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