News

Call to tighten ship movements

INCREASING areas around the Great Barrier Reef that require ships to have pilots onboard could reduce the risk of an environmental disaster, a major reef pilot group says.

On Friday, an empty bulk carrier broke down off the coast north of Cairns and floated towards the heritage listed Great Barrier Reef.

Tug boats were dispatched to tow the 186m vessel to Townsville for repairs on Monday.

The near-miss prompted calls from environmentalists to tighten ship movements through the volatile reef.

But the group responsible for guiding the broken down ship away from the reef, Australian Reef Pilots, said increased shipping into Queensland did not pose an increased risk to the Great Barrier Reef.

"Yes, there is increased traffic but simply increasing compulsory pilotage areas within and around the reef would go a long way to preventing these types of incidents," chief executive officer Simon Meyjes said.

"The fact is there has never been a serious incident on the Great Barrier Reef when there has been an Australian Reef Pilot on board."

He said ships that travelled through the inner reef route were required to have a pilot on board.

"The reason this could have ended in disaster is that when the ship lost power and began to drift, it was in deep water outside the reef and couldn't anchor and was also a long way away from emergency assistance," Mr Meyjes said.

"If the ship had been travelling the inner route of the reef it would have been required to have a pilot on board and would have been in shallow waters."

The Greens environment spokeswoman Senator Larissa Waters said the Federal Government should completely axe its plan to increase fuel shipping through the reef.

"This incident demonstrates how reckless and foolhardy the Australian Government has been in rushing ahead with plans to massively increase shipping traffic for fossil fuels exports out of Queensland, and turning the Reef into a coal and gas superhighway," Ms Waters said.

Topics:  great barrier reef, shipping




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Warwick furniture store latest business set to shut up shop

Warwick Furniture Court owner Steve Oakland says a downturn in the economy is behind his decision to close his store later in the year.

Furniture Court to close down in October

Serious motorcycle crash on Southern Downs

BE VIGILANT: Parents are being warned to keep an eye on their kids during the holidays.

Woman injured in motorcycle crash

Jay Laga’aia performs for Clifton kids

G’DAY JAY: Jay Laga'aia performing at Clifton State School for Under Eights Week.

Jay Laga'aia performed to 400 under eights.

Latest deals and offers


The best retro movies of the week? May 27 - June 3

Gregory Peck Photo Contributed

This week TV fan get to see Tom Cruise in a 1980s classics

Warwick High student named as hockey nationals umpire

Interview with Warwick High student Isaac Johnson who has been named as an umpire...

Start of Pentath-run wheelchair race in Warwick

Start of Wheelchair race at Pentath-run 1500

Warwick Hospital Get Up Petition

Deuchar resident Trevor Ives is heading up a GetUp petition against Federal Government cuts of as much as $62.8 million to funding at Warwick Hospital. Photo Jayden Brown / Warwick Daily News

Deuchar resident Trevor Ives talks about a GetUp petition calling for no cuts to...

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked