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6 November 2000 A163/2000


The Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, today announced a wide-ranging review of measures to promote ship safety and pollution prevention in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

“I have asked the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to coordinate a comprehensive review of current controls over shipping operations within the reef area and to examine proposals for strengthening these arrangements,” he said.

“The Great Barrier Reef is already designated by the International Maritime Organization as a particularly sensitive sea area, the first in the world to be so recognised.

“This special status imposes safety measures unique to the Great Barrier Reef. The review will examine how to strengthen these measures to promote ship safety and protection of the marine environment.

“The review will specifically examine extending the internationally recognised compulsory pilotage area currently covering the more demanding navigation areas of the Inner Route.”

There will be wide consultations with interested parties, including relevant Queensland and Federal Departments, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the shipping industry.

Mr Anderson said there had been calls for ships to be banned from the Inner Route.  These calls failed to recognise that up to 80 per cent of ships using the Inner Route were actually trading to Queensland ports in the Great Barrier Reef.

The Inner Route is also more sheltered and less susceptible to heavy sea conditions.

Note: There are two major shipping routes in the Great Barrier Reef area. The Inner Route, as the name implies, extends north-south between the Great Barrier Reef and the Queensland coast from Torres Strait to Gladstone in the south. The Outer Route is an open-sea route that runs through the Coral Sea from Torres Strait and rejoins the coastal shipping route south of Gladstone.

Media Contact: Brett Bayly, Minister Anderson’s Office: (02) 6277 7680

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2000 Last updated:  Thursday, 09 November 2000