Saturday, April 20, 2024

New NSW Maritime force hits the water

The NSW Government has launched two new NSW Maritime vessels and a state-of-the-art maritime command centre in Sydney Harbour.

Minister for Transport, Veterans and Western Sydney, David Elliott said the vessels worth $2 million and the $700,000 State Marine Incident Coordination Centre (SMICC) in Rozelle would help NSW Maritime crews swing into action across the State.

“Unprecedented rain and flooding this year have led to a major increase in debris on NSW waterways, resulting in an extremely busy 12 months for the Maritime Environmental Services team,” Mr Elliott said.

“These new NSW built boats will boost the clean-up effort, while our new coordination centre will be a central hub for our response to natural disasters and maritime events; whether it’s managing New Year’s Eve or the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, or supporting our partner agencies such as the joint rescue of the stricken cargo vessel MV Portland Bay in July.

“The SMICC also has the latest in live TV capabilities with direct access to newsrooms not only across Australia but also worldwide, allowing our people to relay real-time information during an emergency,” he said.

NSW Maritime Executive Director ,Mark Hutchings said the new maritime vessels would replace older barges – with the latter to be relocated regionally to assist with potential flood response efforts. 

“The new vessels, which have an offshore capability, have been fitted out with the latest in marine technology, including navigation equipment and increased deck space for safe loading of hazards and waste,” Mr Hutchings said. 

“It’s a far cry from the 1930s when cleaners used to row around Sydney Harbour in open timber boats. These days the team removes everything from drones, shopping trolleys and Christmas trees to TVs, washing machines and fridges.

“In the year to June 30, our crews collected over 2,200 cubic metres of litter and debris from Sydney’s waterways, enough waste to fill more than 9,000 large household bins. The team also recovered 4,600 navigation hazards, improving safety for recreational and commercial vessels.”  

The launch of the maritime vessels and SMICC coincides with the release of the NSW Government’s Maritime Safety Plan 2022-2026, which sets out the goal of eliminating fatalities and serious injuries on navigable waterways by 2056.

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