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Geraldton mariners issued festive season warning

Mariners could face stiff penalties if they fail to keep their pots and nets clear of shipping channels surrounding the Port of Geraldton this festive season.

Mid West Ports Authority harbour master Leon Strydom said lines from misplaced fishing gear could tangle around the propellers of ships as they entered the port and damage vessels.

He said removing just one pot from the channel could be an expensive and tedious process.

“Each year we ask people to avoid placing their pots and crab nets near the navigable waters of the commercial shipping harbour or the main and northern shipping channels,” he said.

“When we come across a pot or a net in the channel, it can delay shipping because we then have to stop the vessel and send one of our tugs or pilot boats over to fish it out.

“If we’re not able to spot them fast enough, they can tangle in the propeller shaft and cause real damage to the vessel.”

Map showing areas where mariners are prohibited from having pots and nets in the Port of Geraldton.Map showing areas where mariners are prohibited from having pots and nets in the Port of Geraldton.
Camera IconMap showing areas where mariners are prohibited from having pots and nets in the Port of Geraldton.Picture: Mid West Ports Authority

Mr Strydom said owners of misplaced pots and nets could face penalties and be required to pay for any damage caused by their lines.

He said the Port Authority could remove equipment from the channels and order the owner to collect them at a service cost.

The Port Authority has also asked mariners to keep their equipment 50 metres clear of the two beacons inside the main channel so as not to interfere with weather monitoring equipment.

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