A multi-million dollar ship tracking system designed to protect the northern part of Queensland's Great Barrier Reef has been expanded to cover the full marine park.
(Austrailian) Federal infrastructure and transport minister Anthony Albanese joined Queensland ports minister Craig Wallace to expand the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic Service (REEFVTS), which now covers the reef from the Torres Strait to Bundaberg.
Jointly managed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and Maritime Safety Queensland, the REEFVTS uses an extensive network of sensors and communication equipment to monitor the position and routes of vessels.
Mr Albanese said the scheme’s goals were
“to deter shipping companies and their crews from engaging in unsafe and irresponsible actions at sea, particularly near our environmentally sensitive marine ecosystems.”
Shipping traffic transiting through the 11 ports that operate adjacent to the reef has increased from 2,743 voyages in 2006/07 to 3,417 in 09/10, and accounts for $17 billion of Australia’s exports.
Mr Albanese said the expansion to the service, which has been covering the reef from the Torres Strait to 100 kilometres south of Mackay since 2004, made REEFVTS the largest mandatory ship reporting system in the world.