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Taskforce continues gaining ground in war on wrecks

In July 2018 the Queensland Government committed $20 million over 4 years towards removing derelict and illegally dumped vessels from Queensland waterways. 

The Minister for Transport and Main Roads announced the establishment of a War on Wrecks Taskforce (the Taskforce), comprised of Parliamentary and Industry representatives to investigate the root causes of vessel abandonment and to make recommendations to the Government for a holistic response to these issues.

The Taskforce met 5 times and facilitated 4 community engagement forums across the state (Cairns, Yeppoon, Redlands and Southport), and met with representatives from Noosa Shire Council and the maritime insurance industry.

As of March 2020, using $5.5 million of the War on Wrecks funding, The Department of Transport and Main Roads’ Maritime Safety Queensland along with partner agencies and owners have removed 514 wrecks and derelict vessels from Queensland waters. But there is plenty more to be done. An additional 300 wrecks and vessels have been identified and we will  continue to remove these rotting, unseaworthy and derelict vessels from our bays, rivers and creeks.

War on Wrecks status


War on Wrecks Taskforce Report

The Taskforce delivered its report to the Queensland Government, which provides a framework to develop a wholistic approach towards responsible boat ownership. The Taskforce has recommended a range of regulatory, social and behavioural strategies to help boat owners make socially responsible decisions and appropriate choices in acquiring, maintaining, using and disposing of a vessel throughout its lifecycle. Some of the recommendations are easy to implement and can be progressed by Department of Transport and Main Roads, while other recommendations require further investigation and collaboration across industry, community and government. 

Community Consultation

The Taskforce will continue to work with Maritime Safety Queensland in conducting further consultation and detailed evaluation and assessment of the recommendations across community, industry and government. The Taskforce will carry on its successful community engagement and consultation process and meet with regional stakeholders around the success of the removal program and the discuss how to implement  the recommendations.

The schedule for Taskforce's next series of planned consultation will be published soon.  

How you can help

If you:

  • know of the location of an unseaworthy vessel that is a danger to navigation or a threat to the marine environment or public safety
  • own such a vessel and would like to discuss ways of removing it
  • know the identity and contact details of the owners of such vessels
  • think you can help with suggestions to prevent vessels becoming derelict and abandoned in future

please let us know by emailing us at

Case Study—Dickson Inlet, Port Douglas, North Queensland

Over the years, 13 illegally dumped vessels have been identified in Dickson Inlet. The vessels were in various states of decay and while not navigation hazards in normal weather, posed a risk in the event of a cyclone—blocking access to cyclone anchorage or risk of coming adrift and blocking the channel.

The vessels also detracted from the local environment in an area frequented by domestic and international tourists. All avenues to determine the last registered owners were exhausted. As no large vessel removal facilities are available in Port Douglas, these vessels were removed on to a barge and transported back to Cairns (100 kilometres) for disposal.

Removal was complicated and delayed by the extreme weather events from January to March in Far North Queensland; but at the end of the financial year, all but one had been removed and progress was being made on the remaining vessel. The cost to remove the vessels to date is $380,000.

Sunken vessel in the Dickson Inlet Sunken vessel in the Dickson Inlet

Yacht removal at Burleigh Heads

Last updated
30 March 2020