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Australia. NSW Maritime alert for vandalism of navigation markers

Monday, 28 January 2008

People have been urged to remain vigilant in reporting vandalism and damage to navigation markers, as they play a vital role in maritime safety - especially during school holidays.

Navigation markers are the ‘road signs’ of the waterways – informing boaters of everything from local hazards to safe navigation channels.

When these markers are reported damaged or stolen, action is taken to rectify the problem as soon as possible for reasons of safety.

NSW Maritime has spent almost $190,000 on 153 incidents of vandalised navigation markers such as buoys, lights and lighthouse lights in the past three years.

Lighthouse windows and lights have been shot, solar panels power lights have been stolen or smashed, light lenses have been spray-painted, and maritime structures damaged - leaving electrical wiring exposed.

In what potentially rates as the worst example of navigation marker vandalism, the Tacking Point Lighthouse, near Port Macquarie, had a bullet fired through the glass turret that protects the delicate lens, allowing entry to potentially corrosive elements.

In another senseless and hazardous incident, the lighthouse at Crookhaven Heads has been vandalised a number of times, with its doors broken and removed, windows and turret glass smashed and rubbish dumped inside. Due to its remote location and importance of the light, Maritime installed a separate high tower structure with light atop to minimise the threat of vandalism at a cost of $25,600.

Vandalism to navigation markers was worst on North Coast waterways, with 61 separate vandalism incidents requiring a repair cost of $84,095.

Other reports were:

Hunter Inland – 18 incidents, costing $18,447
Hawkesbury/Broken Bay – 26 incidents costing $32,686
Sydney (including Port Hacking) – 14 incidents costing $13,623
South Coast – 34 incidents costing $40,082

Wilful and malicious damage to navigation markers is a criminal offence and heavy penalties apply.

Navigation marker vandalism should be reported to NSW Maritime on 13 12 56.

Last Updated ( Monday, 28 January 2008 )