‘VMS helps in the rescue’; Peak-body commends safe rescue off Mooloolaba coast


Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing Australia’s commercial fishing industry, has commended the work of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and a proactive business owner in rescuing the crew of a 20m fishing boat off the coast of Mooloolaba in Queensland.

“This rescue, which saw both the crew and fishing boat brought safely back to shore, sets the example of how fishing vessel operators can monitor the safety of their fleet and raise the alert, and how technology, including vessel monitoring systems (VMS), can help protect our fishers,” SIA CEO Jane Lovell said.

“AMSA was alerted by the concerned owner of the missing fishing boat, which was approximately 550km off the Mooloolaba coast and was provided with contact information including satellite phone numbers. After attempting to communicate with the fishing boat, AMSA was able to use various information including the last available VMS position combined with drift modelling before sending its Challenger Jet to successfully locate the boat, which had suffered a power failure.

“This is a fantastic outcome. Everyone deserves to return home to their loved ones at the end of a working day, and we applaud the work of all involved.

“The recently released coronial inquest into the FV Dianne and FV Cassandra tragedies recommended the use of VMS for safety, and while it is not a means of distress alerting, it is heartening to see it being used this week.

“Safety is one of SIA’s and the entire commercial fishing industry’s top priorities and our industry is working hard to make improvements.

“SIA continues to campaign on behalf of fishers on matters of safety and has asked the Government for financial support of $5 million over four years to be used as a dollar-for-dollar matched contribution toward stability tests for higher risk fishing vessels.

“SIA also supports the SeSAFE initiative, a project which is raising awareness and improving safety in the fishing and aquaculture industry through simple training modules that deliver essential safety training. This project is an important example of the industry and the Federal Government uniting to keep our fishers safe at sea.

“SIA will continue to promote discussion and understanding of the issues associated with safety in the workplace, as well as advocating for practical ways to make our workplace safer.”