Govt re­jects calls for reef pro­tec­tion

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

THE Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has re­jected calls for more fund­ing to pro­tect the reef fol­low­ing the near-col­li­sion of the bulk car­rier ID In­tegrity near Osprey Reef ear­lier this month.

Fed­eral Min­is­ter for Trans­port An­thony Al­banese said the Aus­tralian Mar­itime Safety Au­thor­ity (AMSA), which he es­tab­lished as a na­tional body just this year, has emer­gen­cies cov­ered.

“AMSA has com­mer­cial ar­range­ments in place to en­sure emer­gency towage ca­pac­ity is in place for Australia’s en­tire 60,000km coast­line,” he said.

“There are a num­ber of emer­gency re­sponse ves­sels un­der con­tract with AMSA in Queens­land and around Australia that are able to be mo­bilised im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing a no­ti­fi­ca­tion of a dis­tress sit­u­a­tion.

“The ETV Pa­cific Re­spon­der is the only des­ig­nated, AMSAowned emer­gency re­sponse ves­sel in Australia and it is lo­cated in the Tor­res Strait and Great Bar­rier Reef regions to pro­vide an ex­tra level of pro­tec­tion to the sur­round­ing sen­si­tive ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment.”

With an in­crease in ship­ping traf­fic around the GBR, Mr Al­banese said AMSA has es­tab­lished a num­ber of pro­tec­tion mea­sures to pro­tect the north­ern wa­ters.

“There are a num­ber of pro­tec­tion mea­sures in place that are unique to the area, in­clud­ing ship rout­ing mea­sures, the Reef Ves­sel Traf­fic Ser­vice which mon­i­tors ves­sel move­ments to pre­vent col­li­sions, ground­ings and other in­ci­dents,” Mr Al­banese said.

“Also there’s the largest con- cen­tra­tion of AMSA’s Aids to Nav­i­ga­tion net­work in Australia and com­pul­sory coastal pi­lotage in nav­i­ga­tion­ally chal­leng­ing ar­eas and un­der keel clear­ance man­age­ment sys­tem al­low­ing pi­lots to suc­cess­fully nav­i­gate through the Tor­res Strait’s di­verse con­di­tions.

“AMSA is work­ing with the Depart­ment of In­fra­struc­ture and Trans­port, the Great Bar­rier Reef Ma­rine Park Au­thor­ity and Mar­itime Safety Queens­land to re­view ship­ping man­age­ment prac­tices in the north east of Australia with a fo­cus to en­hance pro­tec­tion mea­sures as ship­ping traf­fic in­creases.

“ETV (Emer­gency Tug Ves­sel) ca­pac­ity is one of a range of mea­sures that is un­der on­go­ing con­sid­er­a­tion and anal­y­sis.”

An AMSA spokes­woman said there has been a low per­cent­age of ac­ci­dent in the last three years.

“With more than 8000 ves­sel move­ments in the GBR each year and only one ma­jor in­ci­dent in the past three years, the ex­ist­ing man­age­ment ar­range­ments have been ex­tremely ef­fec­tive,” she said.

“Break­downs are not un­com­mon and all in­ci­dents have had the same out­come as the ID In­tegrity.”

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