Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Boat safety laws overhauled

Six people were killed in a crash on Sydney Harbour last month. Balmain bar staff described the incident as a pub staff night gone wrong..

The New South Wales Government has announced maritime safety laws will be overhauled, a month after six people died in a boat crash on Sydney Harbour.

Ports and Waterways Minister Joe Tripodi says the reforms include new penalties for dangerous behaviour and a compulsory practical component for aspiring boat skippers.

Mr Tripodi says the number of nights patrolled has increased from 6 per cent to 15 per cent in the past six months.

He says there are plans to increase that further.

"In times of heightened risk, for example New Year's Eve, there'll be more maritime officers out there patrolling the waterways," he said.

"It'll be a risk-based approach but what we have done already is increased the night patrols by 150 per cent."

NSW Maritime acting chief executive Steve Dunn says patrol plans are dictated by the time of year and weather conditions.

Mr Dunn says patrols cannot possibly cover the entire harbour, so extra services will not necessarily reduce the risk of fatal boat accidents.

"We would love to have patrols out there more often but obviously, we react to the perceived need of the risk that's facing us at a particular time," he said.

"We can't have a boating service officer on every headland so we put our resources where they are needed, when they are needed."


Boat tragedy: mystery over driver?
Three weeks after the Sydney Harbour tragedy, police have yet to establish who was driving the runabout that collided with a fishing trawler, killing six young people.

Boat driver in fatal crash revealed: cover-up
Cocktail barman Percy Small has been named as the man at the wheel of the runabout when it crashed into a larger fishing boat, killing six people. It is believed those on board have also claimed that a third person may have been at the wheel during some point in the journey, News Limited [Limited News] reports. [???] [An attempt now to place someone that was allegedly not drunk at the helm???] Quote: "Witnesses have told police that after Mr Reynolds, a qualified skipper, negotiated the boat from Balmain Wharf he handed the controls over to Mr Small. Mr Small, who holds a 'boating licence' and 'did not appear affected by alcohol', safely took the boat across the harbour to Watsons Bay." Unquote. [NSW Police and Limited News Lies? Seems like they got the all clear??? Now all they have to do is inform the boat owners that granting permission to the crew for the journey won't be a liability???]

Harbour death crash: [who stole the boat?]
The father of Matthew Reynolds, [the man originally thought to have stolen the runabout and] the man originally thought to have been at the helm of the runabout at the time of last Thursday's harbour tragedy, says his son knows who was steering the vessel but will not reveal their identity because of "legal implications".

Homicide squad called in over harbour crash
THE homicide squad stamped its authority on the investigation into the harbour tragedy yesterday, with an inspection of the boats that smashed into each other in the cold and dark on Thursday morning.

Police name 6th harbour crash victim
Thirty-two-year-old Ashlei Ayres, a single mother of two, has now been named as one of the five people who died at the scene of the crash.

Balmain hotels fill as young mourn pub mates
Many of those involved in the accident were from Balmain. Friends gathered, embraced and cried openly on Darling Street, and soon after were intoxicated with alcohol as well as grief. Balmain bar staff described the incident as a pub staff night gone wrong.

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