Members from the Water Police are urging mariners to adhere to laws relating to shipping channels.
Over the weekend, the Water Police team conducted safety patrols in Darwin Harbour and several boaters and fishers received on the spot fines of $350 for anchoring in the shipping channel, Northern Territory Police say.
Sergeant John Pini said they don’t want to give out tickets, but if skippers of small boats are not being responsible it is only a matter of time before a tragedy occurs.
“Anchoring anywhere in a shipping channel is prohibited,” Sgt Pini said.
“Even if you are drifting or using dynamic positioning, you have to clear the channel in advance of large vessels.”
Gas tankers, such as those used by the Ichthys LNG Project, have a one kilometre exclusion zone to the front and 500 metres in other directions.”
Large vessels are unable to stop quickly won’t be able to manoeuvre around small vessels if they are in the way. This is one reason why shipping channels exist.”
Skippers are responsible for knowing the rules before heading out on the water. Information can be found on signs posted at boat ramps and on the Marine Safety NT website, or Darwin Port website.