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Tuesday, 5 November 1985
Page: 1600

(Question No. 498)

Senator Missen asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 10 September 1985:

(1) Is the Government aware of the grounding early this week of a Korean vessel, the `Maritime Gardenia', which left Newcastle with a load of 11,500 tonnes of wheat and was proceeding without a pilot through the Great Barrier Reef when it was grounded at Wednesday Island.

(2) Has the vessel since required assistance of the pilot and other services and is it now extensively damaged and in extreme danger of causing spillage on the Reef.

(3) When will the Minister for Transport reply to representations made by myself, the Queensland and Torres Strait Pilot Service and other responsible organisations, and take action to impose compulsory pilotage in the Great Barrier Reef area, thereby protecting the Reef from imminent danger.

Senator Gietzelt —The Minister for Transport has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Yes. On 18 August 1985 the ``Maritime Gardenia'' grounded on Alert Rock in the Torres Strait. The ship did not have a pilot on board at the time.

(2) The ship was refloated early on 19 August with the aid of a pilot and was taken to a safe anchorage. Although the ship's bottom was extensively damaged there was negligible oil pollution.

(3) I have been advised that the Minister for Transport replied to representations from the Honourable Senator on this matter on 23 August 1985. Other representations on this issue have also been answered. The Government, having consulted extensively with responsible organizations, has decided to seek an International Maritime Organization (IMO) Resolution recommending that ships transitting Hydrographers Passage, the inner route north of Cairns, Torres Strait and the Great North East Channel carry a pilot. The IMO Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation has endorsed Australia's proposal which is to go before the IMO Maritime Safety Committee in January 1986.