Safety works on Moreton Island’s Tangalooma shipwrecks have been completed, with works finalised before the busy Christmas holiday period.
Maritime Safety Queensland General Manager Patrick Quirk said the contractors had stabilised the wrecks, meaning the high structures had been lowered into the water.
“During the works, the contractors identified the possible presence of existing asbestos in the wrecks, and immediately collected and tested samples. The presence of asbestos has been confirmed,” Mr Quirk said.
“Safety is our top priority, and we are now compiling an asbestos management plan for the on-going monitoring of the wrecks.
“The majority of the asbestos is submerged, and has been stabilised, however in the interests of safety and awareness we will install signs informing the community that asbestos has been found.
“We already have signs in place warning people to keep clear of the unstable structures, and the asbestos warning signs will be fixed on to the wrecks in coming days.
“I remind boaties and divers the wrecks are in place to serve as a break water, and that diving, walking or swimming on or near the wrecks is unsafe.” Mr Quirk said with the presence of asbestos confirmed, it should be noted the stabilisation works had served to heighten safety awareness, and not affected the risk to the community.
“Due to their age, the wrecks will continue to be dangerous places to walk on, swim through or moorto, however the anchorage remains safe with continuing protection,” he said.
“The risks posed by the on-going deteriorating condition of the Tangalooma wrecks needs to be addressed to ensure the area can remain a safe and popular destination with boaties.” Maritime Safety Queensland has been working closely with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to ensure safety for the community and the environment was top priority.
“The works allowed us to identify what sections of the wrecks were in danger of collapsing due to their deterioration, and we were then able to remove those pieces in a controlled environment,” Mr Quirk said.
“We are meeting with marine park officers to discuss the next steps. While there are no plans to remove the wrecks entirely, we are actively working on a management plan to ensure the ongoing safety and stability of the area.
“In addition, the division of Workplace Health and Safety will assist in developing our management plans.
“The location remains a safe and attractive anchorage, providing people stay off the wrecks and do not tie up to them or anchor too close.
“We want the community to realise that we need to act in the interest of safety at all times. These wrecks should not be used for swimming or diving.
“We ask that you follow the warning signs and enjoy the marine park in a safe way.”