Reef im­pact ends in fine

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

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.

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