Yesterday, a Bob Brown Foundation protester climbed onto the mooring line of the Antarctic toothfish plunderer Antarctic Discovery and hung a banner on the vessel revealing its true nature as an Antarctic destroyer, not an Antarctic discoverer.
19-year-old Billie Raffety from the Huon Valley suspended herself from the vessel’s mooring line to protest the presence of the vessel in Hobart / nipaluna.
As is too often the case, this peaceful protest was met with aggression and dangerous responses from both TasPorts and the crew of the Australian Longline vessel, Antarctic Discovery.
Without warning or communication, the crew and TasPorts workers dropped the mooring line of the vessel with Billie, fully clothed and in heavy harnesses and with multiple ropes and equipment, into the freezing Hobart winter waters.
No effort was made by either TasPorts or the crew of the Australian Longline vessel to assist Billie who was breathing heavily from the shock of being dunked into the cold harbour.
“Our Police Liaison officer clearly explained to the TasPorts staff that it would be extremely dangerous to drop the mooring line as this would result in the potential entanglement of our volunteer if she was dropped into the water still attached to the line and surrounded by the ropes, rigging and hardware she had used to climb the mooring line,” said Bob Brown Foundation Antarctic campaigner Alistair Allan.
“One of the TasPorts workers was even heard asking, “What if she can’t swim?” This fundamental safety consideration was ignored, along with a whole range of other safety procedures that TasPorts must have around preventing a ‘person overboard’ scenario.”
“TasPorts staff did nothing to respond to this ‘person overboard’ situation. No life ring or floatation device was deployed, and no effort was made to offer any assistance to Billie who was in the cold water of the harbour, potentially entangled in rigging and ropes.”
“Fortunately, our boat was close at hand and managed to safely retrieve Billie from the water. She was extremely cold and shocked at the complete disregard shown for her safety by TasPorts staff and the crew of the Antarctic Discovery.”
Not only does Australian Longline show complete disregard for the health of the Antarctic ecosystem that they plunder, but it also turns out the public’s safety is of no consequence either.”
Bob Brown Foundation has filed an official statement with Tasmanian police regarding the reckless actions of both TasPorts and Australian Longline and has written to the CEOs of both organisations demanding an explanation for their dangerous behaviour.