Collaroy

Type :
Steel motor vessel
Launched  :
1988
Builder :
Newcastle State Dockyard
Newcastle, NSW
Gross  :
1140 tons
Dimensions :
70.40 x 13.06 (metres)
Passenger capacity :
1100
Speed :
14 knots

Collaroy is the fourth of the Freshwater class vessels. Originally three ferries had been planned, but increasing demand called for another to built & she was launched four years after her sisters.

Collaroy is different to the other three. As constructed, she had the traditional open ended bow & stern decks, a feature that was added to the other three ferries after refits. She is also the only one of the four big ferries that continued the South Steyne's role of ocean cruising, though there hasn't been a cruise in some years.

Another difference lies in her engines, which are very diffent to the other three & deliver less power. The difference in the way this ferry operates is enough that she has her own crew that cannot be interchanged with her sister vessels. Collaroy, as built, had other differences too that were designed into her for her proposed use as an ocean cruising vessel - underwater stabilisers and a galley and bar.

The propulsion and control systems on the vessels Freshwater, Queenscliff and Narrabeen are almost identical, but the Collaroy utilises a propulsion control system which is unique within the Freshwater class. All four vessels have two main engines which can be used alone or, in conjunction, to drive one or both propellers, depending on the mode selected.

Collaroy is no stranger to collisions, on the 26/02/2001 with 500 people aboard, the ferry climbed the rocks at Manly Point. Fortunately no one was injured & damage was minimal, although a nearby resident reported that his building shook when she struck the rocks.

Collaroy
suffered a fire in the engine room on the 21st of July, 2005 resulting in her being taken out of service for a short while and forcing the NSW Office of Transport Safety to launch a full out investigation of the whole class due to numerous incidents, including eleven collisions, in the previous twelve months. Collaroy was herself involved in two of these accidents, the first happened when she collided with Number 3 Wharf, Circular Quay on  the morning of Friday, March 4th, 2005 when she struck the safety backboards. There was little damage to the Collaroy but the backboards were extensively damaged. The collision occurred when the Collaroy failed to respond to the master’s controls and a number of back-up features also failed. One of four control units, upon which he was relying to convert his instructions into an altered pitch setting on the No.1 propeller, was rendered inoperative by a faulty electrical circuit in a logic card. The failure of warning and back-up systems, which should have been activated when the control unit failed, was a consequence of human error. These ‘defences’ were dependent on all four control units being switched on at the time and they were not.

At 1:16pm on Monday 19 September 2005, the Collaroy was on approach to its berth at No.3 West Wharf at Circular Quay when it deviated from its course and struck the northern end of the pontoon at No.2 Wharf. The Collaroy was not severely damaged but the pontoon and its roof sustained significant damage. The collision occurred when Collaroy did not respond to the Master’s initial propulsion control instructions and a number of back-up and recovery measures either failed or were ineffective. The collision was initiated when an electronic component in the vessel’s propulsion control system malfunctioned for about 35 seconds, rendering both the primary and back-up propulsion control systems inoperable from Collaroy’s bridge. Approximately three minutes elapsed between the onset of the failure and the collision, during which time the Master was unable to regain propulsion control. The Master’s actions to regain control were limited by his mis- interpretation of the nature of the malfunction and his lack of familiarity with an important procedure that would have allowed him to revert to another form of control that was not affected by the malfunction.

As a result of the accident, Collaroy was withdrawn from service for several months.

In all, Collaroy had fifteen collisions in the period 2001 to 2005, twice as many as any of her running mates.

Most recently the vessel broke down on the 18th of January 2011 and had to drop anchor in Manly Cove until the problem was sorted out.

In 2000, when Sydney hosted the Summer Olympics, Collaroy had the honour of carrying the Olympic torch across the harbour. More recently, Collaroy was used by the Australian Army in a training exercise designed to deal with anti-terrorism, this was part of an event staged in and around Sydney Harbour. Passengers were advised prior to the sudden influx of armed soldiers not to be alarmed!