Marine Rescue NSW (MRNSW) has issued a statement following numerous negative commends about the local volunteer organisation after a suspicious fire on February 6 which destroyed a luxury cruiser.
Thankfully nobody was injured during the vessel fire on the Coolongolook River in Tuncurry on Tuesday evening, the spokesperson said.
Marine Rescue Forster -Tuncurry was standing by to respond to any search or rescue incidents of people on vessels or in the water – which fortunately there were none.
The story so far:
“Following consultation with and under direction of NSW Police Force Marine Area Command, towing of the burning vessel was deemed an unacceptable risk to Marine Rescue volunteers, particularly given that there was no threat to life.
The spokesman said MRNSW’s mandate was saving lives at sea, namely protecting people from death or injury.
“MRNSW does not have a firefighting capability including on the scale and intensity encountered during the incident, nor the training or PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to take a burning vessel under tow.
“Towing a large, burning vessel which was likely to sink to sea at night, across a bar, where there was no threat to life, posed a significant and unacceptable risk to MR Forster Tuncurry volunteers due to the fire and risk of explosion.
“The high chance of the vessel sinking whilst under tow and potential steerage damage impacting safe navigation of a restrictive bar/breakwall area further exacerbated this risk.”
He said the management of spills and salvage were the responsibility of Fire and Rescue HAZMAT, and Roads and Maritime.
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