‘Environmental nightmare’ as millionaire’s yacht washes up on beach

Controversy has erupted in Queensland, Australia after parts of a millionaire’s luxury yacht began washing up on a pristine beach.

The 27-metre cruiser sank on Wednesday in Statue Bay, on Queensland’s Capricorn Coast, after large waves damaged it during a storm.

The conditions caused the boat to be ripped from its anchor near Rosslyn Bay Marina in the central Queensland town of Yeppoon. The vessel began to take on water, as waves pushed the stricken yacht onto Lammermoor Beach.

The yacht, which is reportedly owned by property mogul Jamie McIntyre, remains semi-submerged in the water, awaiting removal by salvage experts. Debris from the yacht is now washing up on shore.

Image courtesy of Malcolm Wells/Facebook

President of Capricorn Coast Landcare Group Malcolm Wells told the Townsville Bulletin that the wreck is already causing untold damage to local marine ecosystems.

“The pile of rubbish that’s already washed ashore is a bit of an environmental nightmare,” he says. “There’s lots of plastic, foam and rubber that could be swallowed by our marine life … we’re a bit worried about leaks of fuel but that doesn’t seem to be happening at the moment.”

Image courtesy of Malcolm Wells/Facebook

Wells posted photos of the clean-up operations on Facebook, showing foam mattresses, glass bottles, and even the boat’s steering wheel among the debris.

“A lot of disturbing stuff has been gathered up after landing on the beach,” he wrote on Facebook.

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga told ABC the yacht needs to be removed as soon as possible, as locals are bearing the brunt of the owner’s slow response.

“Local people have had to go out and clean that up, so this boat is just sort of wreaking havoc now and we just need it gone,” she said. “Clearly the owner is not acting quickly enough and so we need to take on this responsibility and then recoup those costs from the owner.”

Image courtesy of Laura Lubans-Bates/Facebook

Maritime Safety Queensland general manager Kell Dillon adds that the boat is in otherwise good condition, despite its precarious situation.

“A direction has been issued to the owner to secure or remove any pollutants aboard the vessel,” he says. “MSQ is working with the owner’s representative, the Queensland Police Service and Livingstone Shire Council to collect debris. Salvaging the vessel remains the owner’s responsibility.”

The Regional Harbour Master for Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) in the Gladstone Region, John Fallon, told ABC that MSQ was working with the owner of the vessel to salvage it.

“We have given the owner until the weekend to remove the vessel,” he says. “If it doesn’t happen by then, MSQ may be forced to just start taking action itself to remove the vessel from the beach and that’s a contingency that we’re ready to put in place should that occur.”

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