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11 April 2010
Environment Protection Minister Peter Garrett and Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor today welcomed the decision by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to execute a search warrant on the MV Mimosa and pursue charges against members of the ship's crew under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975.
Minister Garrett said the AFP's action against the Panamanian registered bulk carrier followed it allegedly crossing a restricted area of the Great Barrier Reef en route to Abbot Point Coal Terminal in Bowen, Queensland, on April 4.
The AFP's actions yesterday evening follow a referral from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). It underlines the seriousness with which we treat the protection of the Reef and any breaches of the strict measures in place to protect it.
The Great Barrier Reef is an extraordinary natural wonder as well as an important economic driver for Queensland and the nation.
That is why we take very seriously any action which puts at risk the health or the unique values that see it afforded protection on the World Heritage List, and ensure that breaches of the tough rules we have in place to ensure its protection are properly enforced.
Clear shipping zones and safe passages are in place for a reason – to protect the Reef as well as ensure the safety of those that navigate these sometimes treacherous waters.
The Government will not tolerate breaches of these tough regulations.
Minister O'Connor said further information about the matter would be provided, as appropriate, at the conclusion of the AFP's investigation.
Last year the Government strengthened the enforcement provisions of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act.