Fishers claim cruise ship anchored on vulnerable reef

The first cruise ship to dock in Busselton, the Diamond Princess, was reported to have anchored on a vulnerable reef in Geographe Bay in November 2014. Picture: Gordon Becker
The first cruise ship to dock in Busselton, the Diamond Princess, was reported to have anchored on a vulnerable reef in Geographe Bay in November 2014. Picture: Gordon Becker

Recreational fishers claim another cruise ship has anchored over the reef in Geographe Bay, but the vessel's operator insists it only followed the Department of Parks and Wildlife's instructions.

Busselton fisherman Howard George says the fishing community believes the Astor anchored above a reef known as Viv's Patch on Wednesday and Thursday - the same place where Diamond Princess stopped on November 27.

Mr George said their co-ordinates showed the ship was anchored "no more than 100 yards" from the exact location, raising the same environmental concerns about reef damage as before.

But Cruise and Maritime Voyages Australia chief executive Grant Hunter said the Astor was anchored at a "very different area" from the Diamond Princess.

"The anchorage point has been nominated by the guys from Parks and Wildlife," he said.

"They had discussions with us, our master and the ship's agents in Fremantle and came up with the area the ship should be anchored at."

DPaW said it provided anchorage co-ordinates for an area of bare sand in Geographe Bay to allow the ship to anchor without impacting on any nearby reefs.

Marine officers inspected the site and confirmed the Astor had anchored at the correct location.

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