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War on Wrecks passes major milestone

The War on Wrecks program—a $20 million initiative launched in July 2018 to rid Queensland’s waterways of abandoned and unseaworthy vessels—recently reached a notable milestone.

On 17 May 2022 Sonda became the 1000th (that’s a chiliad) vessel removed under the program.

Sonda was half-submerged in Cabbage Tree Creek, and was not only a safety hazard but an eyesore in a mangrove-lined waterway that’s popular with the boating community.

Vessels become derelict because some owners walk away from their responsibilities, leaving them to deteriorate.

Derelict vessels can become a hazard to navigational or personal safety and risk contaminating the marine environment with materials such as decaying fibreglass, rusting iron, steel and other pollutants.

The marine environment around Queensland is much cleaner because of the War on Wrecks program. With more than 1000 derelicts no longer clogging up the waterways, many areas have been returned to a pristine state.

Identifying the location of derelict vessels, contacting owners to fix or remove their vessels, exploring legal avenues to remove them when owners fail to act, paying contractors to remove and dispose of vessels and pursuing owners through the courts for the costs incurred as a last resort, has been challenging work.

Maritime Safety Queensland know the job is not yet done, though. There are another 360 vessels still of interest and they are redoubling our efforts to deal with these while working with the War on Wrecks Taskforce on measures to reduce the problem in the future.

For further details on the War on Wrecks program, click here.