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Old 29-06-2009, 06:19   #1
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Multitude of Errors Doomed Malu Sara

"An investigation into the fatal voyage of an Immigration Department boat in the Torres Strait has found the skipper had never been trained adequately to use equipment that might have saved him and his passengers."

The attached link summaries the 4 corners program that ran tonight. It pretty well shows that there was incompetence at a number of different levels.

Litany of errors doomed the Malu Sara - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

This is a transcript of the program. There are some pretty scary comments made throughout and one especially at the inquest regarding EPIRB's. The EPIRB was set off and basically ignored by the would be rescuers. "One of the police officers gave evidence to say that for the area in the Torres Strait, EPIRB is known by the acronym within the police service as Empty Petrol I Require Boat."

Anyone heading around the top end take heed, you have been warned. Full transcript of program in this link below.

Four Corners - 29/06/2009: Program Transcript

Craig
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Old 29-06-2009, 07:03   #2
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In the afternoon of 14 October 2005 the six metre Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) vessel Malu Sara was returning from Saibai Island at the northern extreme of the Torres Strait to its home community on Badu Island.
During the mid afternoon, the skipper reported that he was lost in reduced visibility. There were five people on board: the two male DIMIA crew, two adult females and a four year old girl.
There was no suggestion of panic or distress. With the onset of darkness, at about 1915 on 14 October, the Thursday Island Police took over coordination of the search for Malu Sara. The skipper was instructed to activate the boat’s emergency position indicating radio beacon and the boat’s position was eventually established. Later the skipper reported that he was close to an island and could see a shore light. It appeared that Malu Sara was in a sheltered position. At
0215 the skipper again made contact by satellite telephone and reported that the boat was taking on water and sinking...

Australian TSB Media Release
regarding the Loss of the DIMIA vessel Malu Sara in Torres Strait, Queensland:

MEDIA RELEASE : 19 May 2006 - Loss of the DIMIA vessel <i>Malu Sara</i> in Torres Strait, Queensland

Marine Safety Investigation Report
(#222)

http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/...air222_001.pdf

And Supplemental Report
http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/...ENTARY_001.pdf
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Old 29-06-2009, 22:38   #3
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Disturbing viewing...

I watched the Four Corners program on the ABC last night.

One part that was not discussed was that the skipper was probably aware that the boat was not seaworthy for the trip, and that he may not have had the necessary skills but left anyway.

The most disturbing part was just how casual the response was to an EPIRB being set off. All involved had strong indications that the boat was in trouble but still they did not start a search.

It looks like they will spend a small fortune when the best result is going to be recovering bodies, but won't start a search early when there is a good chance of success.

There was no indication that money had been wasted with unnecessary searches.

Echoes of the "Blessed Be".
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Old 30-06-2009, 02:31   #4
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Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
The most disturbing part was just how casual the response was to an EPIRB being set off.
This is what really made me sit up and take notice. Apart from the various problems with the boat builder, the Immigration Dept, the skipper etc. The non response to the activation of the EPIRB sent a shiver down my spine. To the hear the actual telephone conversations between Queensland Police and Australian Search and Rescue was I thought, very chilling.

I have friends that have set off to cruise around the top from Brisbane to Darwin. If there is a need to activate an EPIRB I would expect and they would expect it would get the relative organisations swinging into action.

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