Police are investigating after a fire destroyed a stranded yacht on a central Queensland beach.
- The 15.2m yacht was found burned and destroyed on Thursday morning
- It washed aground on a central Queensland beach in October
- The Member for Keppel said the owner removed all pollutants and has been working with authorities
Just before 1:00am yesterday police and firefighters were called to a boat fire on the shore of Emu Park’s Main Beach.
“The vessel was not occupied at the time and no persons have been injured,” a Queensland Police Service spokesperson said.
“The cause of the fire is unclear and police investigations are continuing to establish the cause and circumstances of the fire.”
The 15-meter yacht had run aground at the beach in October.
Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) general manager Kell Dillon said the owner was asked to remove it by October 28. That was extended to November 28 when they failed to meet the initial deadline.
On Thursday morning, the yacht was found burned and destroyed.
Mr Dillon said MSQ was assisting police with an investigation into the cause of the fire.
“Vessel removal remains the owner’s responsibility,” he said.
“MSQ is working with the Livingstone Shire Council to minimize any pollution from the incident.”
Owner working with authorities
Member for Keppel and member of the War on Wrecks Taskforce Brittany Lauga said the urgency for the owner to remove the yacht increased now that it had been destroyed.
“This is a lot more of a problem than what it was,” Ms. Lauga said.
“There’s debris everywhere on the beach, and the hulk is still there.
“We have the transport operations [tax and] marine pollution tax, which the owner has obligations [to pay].”
MSQ will clean up the remains if the owner does not, Ms Lauga says, and the costs will be collected from the owner.
All pollutants had already been removed from the vessel, Ms Lauga said.
“The owner had been working with MSQ and he was given a direction to not only remove all of those pollutants but also remove the vessel,” she said.
“He’s still required to remove the debris and MSQ is working with him to try and achieve that.”
Ms Lauga said one of the issues was related to the owner’s insurance.
“He had insurance and the insurance company wasn’t going to cover the removal of the vessel,” she said.
“So this is a sort of bigger problem with insurance on boats, and vessels.
“When they run aground, the insurance companies often don’t pay up for the removal of the boat.
“The owner was working with MSQ and I really want to stress that as it is different to the last time this sort of thing happened.”