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Great Barrier Reef protection to be enhanced with new $9.7 million vessel

Great Barrier Reef protection to be enhanced with new $9.7 million vessel
May 9, 2021

The Great Barrier Reef is to receive further protection following the officially launch in Gladstone today of a $9.7 million state-of-the-art Reef Resilience vessel bringing new capabilities in compliance, surveying and research. The Reef Resilience will patrol the southern half of the Reef.

The 24-metre Reef Resilience, jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments under the Reef Joint Field Management Program will enter service next week and will significantly enhance the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s capabilities in undertaking compliance patrols, field activities with Traditional Owners and Indigenous rangers, protected species management and incident response.

At the launch, Federal Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley noted “this is yet another important and practical investment in reef protection, one that will substantially increase our capacity for field operations and in protecting the reef from illegal activities including illegal fishing that can have a massive impact on ecosystems.

“The Reef Resilience revolutionises how field activities are undertaken across a massive area that is exposed to challenging weather conditions and which can often be difficult to access in less capable vessels.

“With 16 berths, three tender support vessels, and a larger rigid-hulled inflatable boat for compliance and enforcement activities, the Reef Resilience is an impressive floating ranger base.

“It is capable of reaching the remotest locations in the southern Great Barrier Reef and delivering multiple tasks simultaneously.

“We have a similar vessel already operating in the northern part of the Reef and this means the entire World Heritage Area is benefitting.”

Queensland Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Meaghan Scanlon said the Reef Resilience would greatly enhance island and protected species management, and in-water surveys and added “The Reef Resilience transforms our management capability for our amazing island national parks, better allowing visitors and tourism operators to enjoy all the opportunities the World Heritage Area has to offer.

“It allows our rangers to more efficiently and effectively maintain island campgrounds and the network of public moorings, and enhance our management of protected species like marine turtles and seabirds.

“Supporting rangers, Traditional Owners, Indigenous Rangers, and researchers to deliver a range of activities at the same time is exactly what this amazing vessel is designed to do.”

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said the new vessel would service the Great Barrier Reef from its home port in Gladstone.

“Gladstone has a proud boating history and is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef so it is only fitting that it acts as the home of the Reef’s newest patrol vessel,” O’Dowd said.

State Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said Reef Resilience can cruise at 20 knots, can cover more than 2000 nautical miles, and uses solar panels mounted on the roof to maximise the use of available renewable energy and reduce environmental impact.

“It accommodates up to 16 people for overnight voyages and can carry additional support vessels and up to six tonnes of cargo on the upper deck,” Butcher said.

For over 40 years, the Australian and Queensland governments’ Reef Joint Field Management Program has planned and executed field operations in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

The addition of the Reef Resilience is part of the Program’s significant expansion, with additional funding, improved vessels, and more staff to better undertake fieldwork and incident response in this iconic and vast World Heritage Area.

Both Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the modernisation of the Reef Joint Field Management Program’s vessel fleet by announcing the upgrading of the vessel Tamoya, the primary workboat that services the Whitsundays. The Tamoya replacement will enter service later this year.

Image courtesy of Tourism Australia

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4th December 2020 - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority elects Jeff Baines as inaugural Chair of Reef Guardian Council

27th November 2020 - New management arrangements proposed for Townsville’s John Brewer Reef

30th October 2020 - Cairns Regional Council endorses plan for Reef management

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9th October 2020 - Australian Marine Conservation Society claims Reef Inquiry confirms what was already known

8th October 2020 - Census launched to help inform Great Barrier Reef key management decisions

30th September 2020 - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority responds to illegal fishing on the Reef

14th September 2020 - Gladstone Regional Council renews its commitment to guarding the Great Barrier Reef

8th September 2020 - Australian Marine Conservation Society welcomes Federal Government intervention into protecting Great Barrier Reef wildlife

21st August 2020 - Whitsunday Council recommits to Reef Guardian Council program

16th June 2020 - Great Barrier Reef campaigners deliver message of Reef-safe recovery

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13th May 2020 - Great Barrier Reef tourism operators to receive additional financial assistance

7th April 2020 - Reef tourism industry and conservationists demand climate action following release of new bleaching survey

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