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Thursday, 25 October 1973
Page: 2678

Mr CHARLES JONES (Newcastle) (Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation) - by leave - I seek the indulgence of the Chair to add some information to answers I gave to questions asked earlier today concerning the missing vessel 'Blythe Star'. The honourable member for Braddon (Mr Davies) and the honourable member for Franklin (Mr Sherry) asked me what we had done about notifying Japanese ships concerning the loss of the vessel 'Blythe Star'. I should like to place on record the exact text of a message to the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency from the Marine Operations Centre in Canberra on 17 October. This is the text of the urgent message which was sent:

1.   Australian registered ship Blythe Star call sign VJNZ overdue on voyage from Hobart to King Island.

2.   Vessel sailed at 1208 hours GMT due King Island 1423 G.M.T.

3.   Description: Length 144 ft beam 25 ft 321 gross tons - light grey steel hull white superstructure, funnel and superstructure aft - two yellow masts.

4.   Vessel may now be drifting or wrecked south of Tasmania. Extensive air search in operation.

5.   Request Japanese fishing vessels south of Tasmania be told and asked to report sightings of vessel or debris.

The reply which came back the same day reads:

Ref your 170235Z Oct 73 / Blythe Star. Broadcasted your info to our Japanese fishing vessels near the scene.

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