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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Transport and Main Roads
    The Honourable Mark Bailey

    Palaszczuk Government lights the way on TI

    Minister for Transport and Main Roads
    The Honourable Mark Bailey

    Wednesday, May 30, 2018

    Palaszczuk Government lights the way on TI

    Mariners operating in challenging Torres Strait conditions will be safer at sea thanks to the Palaszczuk Government’s installation of a world-class navigation light marking the passage into Thursday Island.

    Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the commissioning of the upgraded leading light by Maritime Safety Queensland kept the state at the forefront of international marine technology.

    “Leading lights, as they’re known, give ship’s masters a clear line-of-sight approach to safe channels and port entrances especially in shallow waters so they must be reliable and highly visible,” she said.

    Visiting Thursday Island today (May 30) to inspect the light with Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey, Ms Lui said Maritime Safety Queensland had demonstrated its commitment to maintain a suite of modern and effective navigation aids to support the communities of the Torres Strait.

    “This new light marking the Aplin Pass marine channel is the latest in LED technology, providing a five nautical mile (10 kilometre) range both day and night,” she said.

    “This ensures safer entry into waters of Normanby Sound to Thursday Island’s west, with reduced maintenance needs and much higher reliability and effectiveness.

    “This is vitally important to the rising number of smaller vessels ranging from coastal traders to light cruise ships and recreational craft now operating regularly around Thursday Island.”

    Mr Bailey said the Torres Strait had a well-earned reputation for being navigationally challenging with strong currents, significant tidal ranges, reefs and a multitude of islands.

    “With this in mind, it is important to remember this new light will compliment the network of critical navigation infrastructure already in place throughout the Strait,” he said.

    “MSQ marine officers are currently carrying out annual servicing of navigation aids in the Torres Strait region and the introduction of LED lighting has been a real game-changer.

    “Where light inspections previously needed to occur every six months, now they may now only be required every 18 months or perhaps longer.

    “Efficient solar power and new buoy types have not only contributed to safer navigation for the Torres Strait communities, they have also delivered significant cost efficiencies as well as heightening workplace health and safety for MSQ staff who must inspect and repair installations in often adverse conditions.

    “The way maintenance is carried out is also changing.

    "Where tugs, barges and cranes used to go out to service a buoy – now it can be done with a smaller vessel.”

    Mr Bailey said more than 3000 ships transited the Torres Strait each year, with most required to use experienced marine pilots to navigate safely through the area.

    “The Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic Service (Reef VTS) monitors vessel traffic in the region to prevent collisions or incidents,” he said.

    “All ships over 50m operating in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait must report to Reef VTS.

    “This system has proved its reliability and worth many times over however we are always preparing for a worst case scenario.

    “Recently MSQ, working with council, elders, AMSA,TSRA and other government agencies conducted a joint oil-spill exercise in the region.

    “A further larger oil spill exercise is planned for the Torres Strait in September.”



    Media contact: Dominic Geiger, 0447355565