MAKING WAVES: A new Fisheries vessel comes past Palmers Island, creating a considerable bow wave and rocking pontoons.
MAKING WAVES: A new Fisheries vessel comes past Palmers Island, creating a considerable bow wave and rocking pontoons.

New boat makes waves at Palmers Island

UPDATE: DPI responds to boat claims

ORIGINAL STORY, JUNE 11: A NEW Fisheries boat constructed in Yamba is at the centre of a marine incident at Palmers Island.

Last Wednesday, several witnesses have described seeing the vessel - a 21m-long patrol boat marked with NSW Fisheries insignia - allegedly driving "full speed" up the Clarence River, close to the bank at Palmers Island.

None who witnessed the alleged incident wanted to be identified though one said their pontoon had been damaged and other pontoons had been placed "under a lot of stress".

"The vessel was at full speed going up the river and came past very close to the bank doing about 26 knots," one witness said.

"It turned around, went back to maximum speed and then it started to back off.

"It is a 21m vessel and has significant displacement."

Another witness described the bow wave created by the Fisheries boat as being "a monster".

"This wave was a couple of feet high and waves came over the wharf," the witness said.

"I'm appalled at whoever did it."

The Daily Examiner has since seen footage in which the boat can be seen driving at considerable speed between 15 to 20 metres from the Palmers Island bank.

The $4m boat was recently completed by Yamba Welding and Engineering and is thought to be still undergoing sea trials.

It is the biggest boat constructed by the firm and getting it into the water required two 120-tonne cranes and an special 'low-loader' truck which was brought down from Queensland.

Managing director of YWE, Bill Collingburn, said he was unable to comment on the incident as he was not on the boat at the time.

Who was in command of the vessel remained unclear yesterday, however a spokesperson for Transport NSW said they were aware of the incident.

"(NSW Maritime) contacted Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries) in relation to the matter and will follow up with the complainants," the spokesperson said.

NSW Maritime declined to answer several other questions on the matter and DPIE had not responded before deadline.

Their response will be published when it comes to hand. 

NOTE: This story was edited and a reference to a four knot speed limit at Palmers Island was removed. There is no speed limit at the site. 



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