Aboriginal dispute over stranded yacht

A dispute has erupted over the ownership of a stranded yacht in Tasmania after local Indigenous rights activists claimed they are entitled to a third of its value.

The 40-foot Huntress vessel was damaged during the Sydney to Hobart race last month and washed up near Christmas Beach on Cape Barren Island in Bass Strait.

It has been salvaged by an insurance company, but the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania says the yacht now belongs to Indigenous Australians, who may be entitled to up to $2 million under Aboriginal law.

Huntress retired from the Sydney to Hobart race after setting off from the NSW capital on Boxing Day when it struck an unidentified object that sheared off part of its rudder.

Skipper and owner Victoria Logan and her seven crewmates suffered the mishap 80 nautical miles east of Flinders Island on the morning of December 28.

They have since been rescued and the vessel is being towed back to mainland Tasmania.

Total Dive Solutions said Sunday's salvage operation was successful and the local Indigenous community was consulted.

"Total Dive Solutions recognises this could not have been possible without the support and assistance of the the local indigenous community," the company said in a statement.

However, land council chairman and Palawa man Michael Mansell said the salvage operation should not have been done because the vessel now belonged to Aboriginal people.

"Physically the boat may have been taken from our land but our rights didn't go with the boat," he told AAP.

"It may well be that the salvage guys, the owner and the insurance people were not aware of the Aboriginal right to ownership of any vessel that gets washed up on the shore."

He said either a payment equal to one third of vessel's value must be paid or full ownership relinquished.

He intends to meet all parties involved in a bid to try and settle the dispute amicably.

Mr Mansell also criticised the Tasmanian government's approach to Indigenous matters.

"Their view is that they decide what the parameters of Aboriginal rights are and we say that's a load of bulls***. We decide, because that's what our people have always done," he said.

The Huntress previously attempted the Sydney to Hobart in 2021 but failed to finish because of mainsail damage.

Ms Logan has been contacted for comment.