SYDNEY, May 12 (Xinhua) -- An accident which saw an Australian cruise ship crash into a Melbourne pier with passengers on board in January was avoidable, a report into the incident has found.
On Jan. 13, the Spirit of Tasmania II cruise ship broke free of its moorings in Port Melbourne with 120 passengers on board, crashing into the car bridge and ramp at Station Pier.
Witnesses were left stunned when the ship dramatically broke away from the dock as it was hit by winds exceeding speeds of 100 km per hour.
The incident left the ship stranded in Melbourne for several days, causing major freight delays and leaving passengers stranded.
The two Spirit of Tasmania ships carry passengers from Melbourne to Devonport and vice versa, operating a service each way every day and two each way on Saturday's.
A report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) released on Friday said the crash could have been prevented if the TT Line ferry had been monitoring weather conditions.
The ATSB said the staff on the ship were not aware of the impending thunderstorm until after passengers had started to board.
It said the ship's bridge was unmanned while it was in port, meaning weather warning from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) went unheeded.
"Precautions such as manning the bridge, monitoring the moorings or engaging tugs were therefore not taken," the report said.
"It is possible that the breakaway might have been prevented had the precautions for adverse weather been more carefully considered."
The ATSB conceded that the warning system at the Port of Melbourne was only "partially effective" and did not warn the ship of the storm but said that ship's crew was ultimately responsible for monitoring weather conditions.
Bernard Dwyer, chief executive of TT-Line Company which operates the Spirit of Tasmania, said the company had worked closely with the ATSB to minimize the risk of another incident occurring.
"TT Line has also continued to review all aspects of the business' operations in relation to our high priority on safety," Dwyer said.