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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

21 July 2006

Minister launches fast response vessel for marine park

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today officially launched a new fast response vessel for monitoring and surveillance activities within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The nine metre vessel, ‘Bimbi Eungie’ (pronounced Bim-bee Oon-gee) was purchased through the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust funding. Bimbi Eungie means ‘good spirit’ in the language of Traditional Owners of the Birra gubba Nation, which extends from the Ross River in Townsville, south to Sarina.

Officially launching the vessel on Hamilton Island, in the Whitsundays, Senator Campbell said the new craft would assist targeted monitoring and surveillance operations along the length of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area from offshore Gladstone to Cape York.

“This purpose built fast response vessel is crewed by three experienced Marine Park inspectors and is ideally suited to operate in the waters of the Marine Park,” Senator Campbell said.

“The Australian Government is committed to combating illegal foreign fishing in northern waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

“We have allocated $2 million over three years for the construction of a second fast response vessel of similar design as well as staff and equipment to operate the vessel.

“The Great Barrier Reef is undisputedly as one of the world's most important natural assets and these vessels are an important initiative to protect Australian interests, both environmental and economic,” he said.

Senator Campbell said the fast response vessel has already been put through its paces, having conducted a number of successful operations within the Marine Park.”

Media contact:
Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

Commonwealth of Australia