HABA vows to swim af­ter sink­ing

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

LO­CAL dive and snorkel com­pany HABA has vowed to sol­dier on as ef­forts to float the com­pany’s boat Evo­lu­tion got un­der­way.

As staff pon­dered their fu­ture, Mar­itime Safety Queens­land an­nounced it would in­ves­ti­gate the ac­ci­dent.

“That in­ves­ti­ga­tion has com­menced,” a spokesper­son said.

“The cause of the in­ci­dent has not yet been de­ter­mined.”

Contractors from HABA’s in­surance com­pany be­gan ef­forts to re-float the boat on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

It is ex­pected the boat will be in­spected by MSQ in­spec­tors on Fri­day.

If the boat is sea­wor­thy, it will be towed to Cairns for a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In the in­terim, HABA’s op­er­a­tions man­ager Stephen Den­nis said the com­pany would trim sails in or­der to at­tempt to stay in busi­ness.

“We’ve closed our shop in Macrossan St, and we’re look­ing for a re­place­ment boat to char­ter,” Mr Den­nis said.

“It’s a dif­fi­cult time, ob­vi­ously, but our in­ten­tion is to con­tinue op­er­a­tions.

“We have a lot of debtors. Some of those peo­ple might start pay­ing their bills.”

Mr Den­nis said the com­pany car­ried am­ple in­surance to cover all out­stand­ing debts and to cover any crew gear that has been ru­ined.

“I still can’t be­lieve it,” one book­ing agent said.

“It was like when Steve Ir­win died.”

The 29m cata­ma­ran sank sud­denly on Satur­day night while at its moor­ing at the Meri­dien Ma­rina in Port Dou­glas.

A po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion has also been launched.

For HABA owner Bruce Funch, it is the sec­ond ma­rine tragedy in less than three years.

His pri­vate house­boat sank dur­ing an overnight fish­ing trip with his son and son’s girl­friend in Jan­uary 2008.

Photo by SAM SMALL­BONE

Sal­vage ef­fort: the res­cue crew work on rais­ing HABA yes­ter­day

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