New state-of-the-art vessel joins Great Barrier Reef fleet

New state-of-the-art vessel joins Great Barrier Reef fleet

The $9.7 million state-of-the-art Reef Resilience vessel is big, fast and will revolutionise compliance, surveying, and research in the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

Unveiled in May, the 24-metre Reef Resilience was jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments, under the Reef Joint Field Management Program, and will call Gladstone its homeport.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said, “this is yet another important and practical investment in reef protection, one that will substantially increase our capacity for field operations and in protecting the reef from illegal activities, including illegal fishing that can have a massive impact on ecosystems.”

“The Reef Resilience revolutionises how field activities are undertaken across a massive area that is exposed to challenging weather conditions and which can often be difficult to access in less capable vessel,” she said.

“With 16 berths, three tender support vessels, and a larger rigid-hulled inflatable boat for compliance and enforcement activities, the Reef Resilience is an impressive floating ranger base.

“It is capable of reaching the remotest locations in the Southern Great Barrier Reef and delivering multiple tasks simultaneously.

“We have a similar vessel already operating in the northern part of the reef and this means the entire World Heritage Area is benefitting.”

Queensland Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the Reef Resilience would greatly enhance island and protected species management, and in-water surveys.

“The Reef Resilience transforms our management capability for our amazing island national parks, better allowing visitors and tourism operators to enjoy all the opportunities the World Heritage Area has to offer,” she said.

“It allows our rangers to more efficiently and effectively maintain island campgrounds and the network of public moorings and enhance our management of protected species like marine turtles and seabirds.

“Supporting rangers, Traditional Owners, Indigenous Rangers, and researchers to deliver a range of activities at the same time is exactly what this amazing vessel is designed to do.”

For over 40 years, the Australian and Queensland governments’ Reef Joint Field Management Program has planned and executed field operations in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

The addition of the Reef Resilience is part of the Program’s significant expansion, with additional funding, improved vessels, and more staff to better undertake fieldwork and incident response in this iconic and vast World Heritage Area.

The Reef Resilience at a glance:

  • Will service the Great Barrier Reef from its home port in Gladstone
  • Can cruise at 20 knots, and can cover more than 2000 nautical miles
  • Uses solar panels mounted on the roof to maximize the use of available renewable energy and reduce environmental impact
  • Accommodates up to 16 people for overnight voyages
  • Can carry additional support vessels and up to six tonnes of cargo on the upper deck
  • It is capable of reaching the remotest locations in the Southern Great Barrier Reef and delivering multiple tasks simultaneously