Reef impact ends in fine
MORGAN Timothy Jones, 32, of Wynnum, has been fined $7500 after a vessel he was in charge of ran aground at Bait Reef, causing significant damage to the reef.
Commonwealth prosecutor Aimee Knott said on June 18, 2016, Jones was the master of Reef Explorer, a large catamaran carrying more than 50 tourists to Bait Reef. About 11am Jones was looking for the anchoring buoy or for discolouration of the water indicating the reef was close when he came into contact with the reef.
The total area damaged was 67.2sq m and was inside a “green zone”, one of the reef’s most protected areas.
John Ryan, of Whitsunday Law, said cloud cover caused a glare, which impacted Jones’s vision. At the point where he was to transition from using a GPS to visual cues, he was unable to see the buoy or discolouration.
“This was something he’d never experienced previously in almost two years of going to Bait Reef,” he said.
An inspection of the damaged reef on March 7 saw the damage had not been self-improved.
“He had the skill and experience that should have been sufficient for the unfamiliar circumstance in which he found himself,” Magistrate Simon Young said.