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Clean-up costs for abandoned boats could cost Queenslanders $6m

Ian Harvey

Hundreds of boat owners were abandoning their vessels and leaving them for the state to deal with, says Maritime Safety Queensland. So far, around 200 vessels have been removed and classed as derelict at a total cost to the taxpayer of $6 million.

 Queensland Photo Credit

Queensland Photo Credit

Under state and federal legislation, boat-owners are responsible for the salvage of their vessels. The general manager of Marine Safety Queensland Patrick Quirk said, “abandoned boats were causing issues from Normanton in the Gulf of Carpentaria, to the state border at the Gold Coast.”

Part of the Surfers Paradise skyline Photo Credit

Part of the Surfers Paradise skyline Photo Credit

The derelict vessels could cause danger to navigation and potential environmental risks.

In an interview with ABC news, Quirk said taxpayers would end up picking up the bill. “It hasn’t happened overnight, it’s happened over a number of years,” he said. “I think people have to wake up: if they’ve got a boat they no longer love or no longer want, they have a responsibility to address that now rather than it become a problem for the state.”

Houseboats were the vessels most often neglected, Mr. Quirk said. “They either get tired of them, or they can’t afford to maintain them,” he said. “Unfortunately, some people are just walking away and leaving their vessels at anchor or on a mooring.”

Mr. Quirk has warned derelict boats-owners that they cannot expect the state to pick up the overly excessive costs.