27 September 2023

Safer system for coastal shipping

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The Minister for Transport and Main Roads has announced a new multi-million dollar ship tracking system to help steer ships safely along Queensland’s coast and ports.

Mark Bailey said that with more than 50,000 vessels travelling along the coast over the past five years, the system – Vessel Traffic Services – was expected to provide unprecedented levels of safety for both ships and the Great Barrier Reef.

“It will allow operators to provide detailed information to ship captains on sea conditions, ship traffic and potential hazards as well as be able to identify and intervene where developing situations dictate,” Mr Bailey said.

“The new technology replaces the existing REEFVTS and has been used across 70 of the world’s major ports including Rotterdam, Hong Kong and Shanghai.”

He said shipping played an important role in Queensland’s economy.

“Gladstone, Rockhampton and Bundaberg have seen another record trade year with 124.8 million tonnes through those ports in the last financial year,” Mr Bailey said.

“Earlier this year, a review of the North-East Shipping Management Plan revealed a record number of ships were visiting the State and the lowest number of incidents in years.”

He said the Vessel Traffic Services system would enable even more effective monitoring of ship traffic throughout the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and Queensland Ports.

General Manager of Maritime Safety Queensland, Angus Mitchell said the new system would give its operators the clearest and most up-to-date picture of shipping passing through the Great Barrier Reef.

“It will also help predict and warn of potential problems, enabling authorities and captains to plan even safer journeys,” Mr Mitchell said.

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