Rockhampton police Inspector David Peff.
Rockhampton police Inspector David Peff. CHRIS ISON CI--

Bell Cay remains in reefs waters

JUST how long the Bell Cay will remain submerged in waters at Swain Reefs, 200km north-east of Yeppoon, is unclear.

The charter fishing boat’s co-owner, Wayne Thorpe, said yesterday afternoon he’d been legally advised not to answer media questions.

Authorities say any salvage operation undertaken was the responsibility of the boat owner.

On Wednesday, 21 people were plucked from a liferaft after violent weather pushed their 22 metre vessel onto a reef, causing the boat to capsize.

An emergency beacon was activated, alerting authorities.

Maritime Safety Queensland are investigating the incident.

“We are not going to pre-empt the findings of our investigation,” a spokesman for the organisation said yesterday.

Rockhampton police Inspector David Peff said he expected investigators would head out to Swain Reefs at the weekend or early next week when the weather was looking favourable.

A spokeswoman for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said most times a boat owner’s insurance company would work in with a salver and the authorities to determine the best action.

Strong winds and wild seas are believed to have caused the capsizing.

“We do know there was fairly rough seas out there with significant winds,” Inspector Peff said.

“I heard it got up to 50 knots. That’s quite rough.”

Swain Reefs is a popular spot for offshore fishing and many charter vessels run trips there.