The former Australian Navy ship the MV Banks is still stuck on Whitsunday Island at Cid Harbour.
The former Australian Navy ship the MV Banks is still stuck on Whitsunday Island at Cid Harbour. Peter Carruthers

Local operator wins island wreck contract

AN AIRLIE Beach-based company has been awarded the contract for the removal of the languishing wreck the MV Banks at Cid Harbour on Whitsunday Island.

Coral Coast Oceaneering beat off competition from numerous marine salvage operators including Townsville-based Pacific Marine Group.

The contract, awarded through Maritime Safety Queensland, is worth $365,000.

It is expected the ship will be refloated on the high tide this month before being towed to Townsville to be broken up for scrap.

The state government is considering options for the recovery of costs from the ship's owner, according to Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey.

Last month they allocated $20 million in the State Budget to remove derelict vessels spoiling Queensland's coastline.

The state referred to languishing wrecks on Madge and Inset reefs in the far north but made no comment on the removal of the 207-tonne former Australian Navy vessel the MV Banks stranded at Cid Harbour since Cyclone Debbie hit the region in March last year.

There are currently 270 vessels of "concern” to MSQ.

Mr Bailey said the money to be rolled out over four years would be used to clean up boats when boat owners refused to co-operate in the removal process.

He said vessel owners were always considered responsible for the upkeep or disposal of their vessels.

However it remains unclear whether recent funding grants will be used to finance the removal of the MV Banks.


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