Neglected wrecks to be removed by end of week

THE region's worst wrecks are being removed with seizure notices posted on seven vessels.

Maritime Safety Queensland issued the notices to vessels lying neglected in Coorooman Creek, the Fitzroy River and Rosslyn Bay and they are expected to be removed by the end of this week.

The barge, Moreton Venture, and local marine civil contractors started operations on Monday, safely removing the vessels and taking them to an on-shore disposal site.

Roads, Road Safety and Ports Minister Mark Bailey said the boats not only detracted from the area's visual appeal but posed a potential risk to the environment and a hazard to safe navigation.

"The notices required the owners to come forward by a deadline last week or have their vessels seized and removed," he said.

Maintenance and removal of vessels is the owner's responsibility and Mr Bailey said while there was no quick solution, MSQ would prioritise those with the greatest risk to safe navigation or the environment, especially where owners could not be identified.

Problems with abandoned vessels made headlines in 2008 when an old rusting tugboat, Ascention, broke free of its Fitzroy River mooring and drifted downstream.

The 30m long, 200-tonne derelict vessel had been moored in the river for 10 years before its rusted anchor broke loose amid rising flood waters.

River authorities could only watch in horror as the massive vessel floated unmanned down the river.

MSQ had spent years trying to pursue the boat's owner, believed to be serial environmental menace, Tony Wolfe.

Ascention eventually came to rest on a mud bank at Devil's Elbow where it was refloated by a team from MSQ.



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