TICK­ING TIME-BOMB

Wreck set alight days af­ter the State Gov­ern­ment takes on own­er­ship

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica Lamb Jes­sica.Lamb @whit­sun­day­times.com.au

WIT­NESSES saw peo­ple on board the Tateyama Maru be­fore smoke bil­lowed out of the wreck across the week­end.

The 55-me­tre Ja­panese re­search ship has been beached off Glouces­ter Is­land since April when it broke an­chor in Cy­clone Deb­bie.

The fire was smoul­der­ing as late as Mon­day inside the ves­sel af­ter fire­fight­ers could not board the boat.

The fire was no­ticed about 4.10pm Satur­day by a pass­ing boatie, who con­tacted Vol­un­teer Marine Res­cue which then no­ti­fied po­lice.

Po­lice are ap­peal­ing for in­for­ma­tion as they in­ves­ti­gate the fire.

Queens­land Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices sent three fire­fight­ers to the scene with the help of Vol­un­teer Marine Res­cue.

Un­able to reach the site due to tide re­stric­tions, the crew re­turned to base that night only to be called out again at the re­quest of po­lice Sun­day morn­ing.

Two fire­fight­ers re­sponded, tak­ing a por­ta­ble pump to fight the blaze from the out­side.

Whit­sun­day MP Ja­son Costi­gan blamed the State Gov­ern­ment for the blaze.

Mr Costi­gan said it had failed to act be­fore en­vi­ron­men­tal harm was caused.

“I’ve been lead­ing the cru­sade to re­move the rust bucket from the third big­gest is­land in the re­gion which has been home to much-loved na­tional park for 80 years,” he said.

“If there’s any en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age to this amaz­ing part of the Whit­sun­days, the (Queens­land) gov­ern­ment only has it­self to blame.

“There are well-mean­ing peo­ple in Mar­itime Safety Queens­land, the Whit­sun­day wa­ter po­lice and na­tional parks who are just as frus­trated as me be­cause their po­lit­i­cal masters wouldn’t do the right thing.

“Al­though the is­land is un­in­hab­ited, it is a pop­u­lar camp­ing spot for lo­cals and tourists alike and our grand plan was to re-sink it as a diving at­trac­tion.

“Only in the last few days have we seen sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ments where ten­ders have been clos­ing for the ves­sel’s re­moval but now there is smoke bil­low­ing out of this eye­sore in paradise.”

The State Gov­ern­ment for­mally took own­er­ship of the ves­sel last month.

MSQ has stated it had re­moved pol­lu­tants from the ship.

PHOTO: MICK UN­DER­WOOD

The Tateyama Maru smoul­der­ing early in the morn­ing the day af­ter be­ing set alight.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.