Drug hauls a mys­tery on Spirit fer­ries

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - JAMES KITTO EMILY BAKER

THE power of so­cial me­dia has helped re­unite a prep class with its school­room teddy bear, af­ter the toy was left on a pub­lic bus.

Max the teddy, who goes home with the Star of the Week stu­dent at Cor­pus Christi Catholic School, for­got to get off at his bus stop last month.

He was handed in to Metro Tas­ma­nia’s lost prop­erty by a pas­sen­ger.

Af­ter it was feared Max may not re­turn to school, a so­cial me­dia post by Metro, which gath­ered over 450 shares, caught the eye of a par­ent who recog­nised Max and then no­ti­fied the school.

Class teacher Lisette Noo­nan said the kids were de­lighted to see their friend re­turn.

“As Star of the Week, Max the teddy goes home with a stu­dent and gets taken on a num­ber of ad­ven­tures,” she said. “We picked him up from the Metro shop in town af­ter some­one kindly handed him in and we’re very pleased to have him back. The kids love him.”

Prep stu­dent Nash Stephen­son, 6, said he hoped Max never goes miss­ing again.

“I took him to the movies with me. He does spe­cial jobs with us and we’re glad he’s back,” he said. THE heads of TT-Line say they are un­sure how many drugs are seized on the Spirit of Tas­ma­nia each year.

The Spirit was in­fa­mously re­ferred to as a “drug su­per high­way” by for­mer po­lice min­is­ter Rene Hid­ding while he was in op­po­si­tion and has been the fo­cus of drug busts.

But TT-Line ex­ec­u­tives last week said data on drugs seized on the Spirit — whether by their se­cu­rity of­fi­cers or law en­force­ment agen­cies — was not held by the com­pany.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Bernard Dwyer told the Gov­ern­ment Busi­ness En­ter­prise scru­tiny com­mit­tee he was not aware of any drug seizures on the ves­sels in the past year by TT-Line se­cu­rity “but there are other op­er­a­tions that hap­pen on our ves­sels that I can’t talk about”.

Chair­man Mike Grainger said TT-Line worked “very closely” with Tas­ma­nian and Vic­to­rian po­lice, Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice and spy agency ASIO on “a reg­u­lar ba­sis”.

“We do as they ask,” Mr Grainger said. “They con­trol the pri­vate in­for­ma­tion, we don’t, and we work very closely with all those agen­cies.”

Op­po­si­tion in­fra­struc­ture spokesman David O’Byrne said it was “re­mark­able” TTLine did not record drug seizures on board their ves­sels.

When Mr Grainger asked why TT-Line should hold the data, Mr O’Byrne said: “If it is go­ing up or if it is go­ing down, if your se­cu­rity is work­ing or not, if your re­la­tion­ship with the var­i­ous po­lice or­gan­i­sa­tions, state, fed­eral and in­ter­na­tional, are work­ing.”

When Mr O’Byrne was in­fra­struc­ture min­is­ter, he said, “from mem­ory we had con­ver­sa­tions around these mat­ters, ab­so­lutely”.

Tas­ma­nia Po­lice worked with in­ter­state and fed­eral coun­ter­parts to tar­get Spirit ves­sels dur­ing the Rebels’ bikies run in Tas­ma­nia in Oc­to­ber 2017.

A Devon­port man was sprung with up to $3 mil­lion worth of methy­lam­phetamine af­ter dis­em­bark­ing the Spirit in 2009.

FO­CUS: Lo­cal, in­ter­state, fed­eral cops mon­i­tor Spirit of Tas­ma­nia fer­ries.

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