Wharf deemed off limits

Glenn CordingleyBroome Advertiser
A deflated vessel sits high and dry under the jetty after falling victim to a rapid tide.
Camera IconA deflated vessel sits high and dry under the jetty after falling victim to a rapid tide. Credit: Kimberley Ports Authority

Port bosses have thrown a 60m no-go zone around the wharf in Broome to stop people fishing from tinnies and kayaks underneath.

The move comes after a recent safety incident in which a fuel tanker discharge operation had to be shut down until the offending vessel was cleared from the area.

New harbour master Lindsay Copeman said he regretted taking such harsh action that could lead to fines of up to $9000.

But he said safety was paramount to the public and the Kimberley Ports Authority.

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“We have the potential to discharge gas and petrol and the fumes can just roll down under the wharf and accumulate there; it just takes one spark,” he said.

“I don’t want to see people paying that sort of money for doing something they dearly love (fishing) but they do need to understand the risks and manage accordingly.

“This is a working wharf with incredible tides that add to the potential hazards.”

The KPA announced the security and safety zones in a public notice in the Broome Advertiser last week. Mr Copeman said he intended to police the enforcement zone with additional security patrols on the wharf and water, especially when fuel was being discharged.

“We will be putting more frequent security patrols around our operation and if we do catch someone or get their names or boat registration, we will take it up with the Office of Transport Security,” he said.

“During tanker operations at night we will dispatch a patrol boat with a spotlight to check under the wharf.”

He said the aim was to discourage people from fishing under the wharf but he warned that people would face prosecution if they flouted the rules.

Mr Copeman said small recreational vessels would still be able to transit below the jetty section that leads to the wharf at the end.

But he said anyone seen fishing between the metal pylons below would be told to move 30m away by stevedores and security personnel.

“The jetty will remain open for transit northwards and southwards but we don’t recommend people fish under the jetty and if they are seen, they will be told to move.”

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