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Passenger vessel operator fined for reckless operation

Passenger vessel operator fined for reckless operation

The business owned by Spirit of 1770, a passenger vessel that caught fire and burned to the waterline with 42 paying passengers and four crew members on board returning from a trip to Lady Musgrave Island on May 11, 2016, was fined $25,000 for a commercia


The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) investigated the accident and recommended a charge of 1770 Great Barrier Reef Cruises Pty Ltd against the operator, Panforta Pty Ltd. The indictment was handed down by the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Commonwealth (CDPP).

The corporation pleads guilty to one count of careless operation of a commercial vessel in the Brisbane Magistrates court, endangering the health of the vessel and the passengers on board under the National Marine Health Law Act. 

The offense was due to the company knowingly authorizing the ship to operate, despite the vessel having serious, persistent problems of overheating with its main engines.

Through the investigation, AMSA learned that the company had ordered several masters who were skippering Spirit of 1770 to beach the vessel at Round Hill Creek through low tides to allow passengers to be moved on and off the vessel, rather than waiting for the tide to arrive.

That was despite Maritime Safety Queensland providing clear advice not to beach the vessel.

One of the company's executives also reportedly provided the authorities with fake reports on the beaching procedures in the form of a Safety Management System with a falsely signed forged signature.

AMSA General Operations Manager said the company had ignored expert advice on running the vessel within its limits, putting the health of the vessel and anyone on board in danger.

Maritime Business World 

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