Boat sinks on Port's power line

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Boat sinks on Port's power line

Port Douglas' electricity supply could be in jeopardy after a boat sunk where the main power cable crosses Dickson Inlet.

The boat 'Alacrity', whose mast and some of its hull remains above water level, appears to be resting across where the cable is located, a little over a kilometre up the inlet from the Port Douglas Marina.

A local boatie, who chose to remain anonymous, told The Newsport yesterday that aside from the potential chaos that could be caused if the boat damaged the cable and cut power to the town, the growing number of wrecks in the inlet is also cause for concern.

Owners move their vessels further up Dickson Inlet for protection from the elements when cyclonic conditions are predicted.

"As I understand it the vessel sank four days ago. It has been there for some time and it's just another vessel obstructing the channel and stopping the fleet's access to the cyclone mooring.

"It's going to create issues if, when, we have another cyclone," he said.

He estimated there were seven wrecks in the inlet, with two of these in the channel already causing issues.

"At the end of the day it's another wreck on the bottom and I don't think anything will happen because there are some that have been there ten years.

"The one on the main power supply to Port soon as we go into the full moon and the Spring tide and we get a bit of movement, then the anchor is going to drag and it will represent a real threat to the power source of this town."

An Ergon Energy spokesperson told The Newsport that workers were to assess the state of the cable this morning.

The Newsport believes the Coast Guard was informed prior to the boat's sinking, who in turn informed the harbour master of Alacrity's precarious position, but at the time of reporting no action to remove Alacrity had been taken.

The boatie said there were a number of challenges to overcome, not least of all was finding a willing party to take responsibility for the situation.

"A lot of the owners can't be found for a start, so it's holding someone responsible and accountable for the fact they're there. That would be the first issue.

"Regardless as to whether the owner can be found or not they still constitute a navigational hazard and someone's got to put their hand up and take responsibility for it.

"The Maritime Safety Queensland, the first thing they'll do is put a yellow buoy which will indicate there is an obstruction there, which is the right thing to do.

"Even now with the current boats where they are, if a vessel strikes these underwater obstructions they're going to put a hole in the hull and you're going to have another one.

"It's time to act on the problem and not just keep putting yellow special marks over the top of them, because they're going to run out of yellow special marks one day."

He said finding the money to remove these stricken vessels is also a significant issue.

A statement from Maritime Safety Queensland was received this morning that said they are aware of the vessel and will issue a notice to mariners advising boat operators of its current location.

They added that efforts are being made to identify the owner and determine any salvage plans.