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Skipper handed control to crew member before boat ran aground

The Matahari fishing boat makes an unscheduled landing on Mooloolaba Beach.
The Matahari fishing boat makes an unscheduled landing on Mooloolaba Beach. Warren Lynam

UPDATE: A crew member fell asleep at the wheel of the crabbing vessel, not the boat's skipper. 

The skipper of the Matahari has contacted the Daily to clarify that he had handed over control of the boat to a crew member, who then fell asleep at the wheel before the boat crashed into the rocks at Mooloolaba Beach.

EARLIER: A crew member on the crabbing boat that crashed into rocks at Mooloolaba Beach had fallen asleep at the helm after a two-day expedition, police say.

Sunshine Coast Water Police believe the Matahari was at cruising speed when it ran aground, ploughing into Mooloolaba Beach about 19-28kmh (10-15 knots).

Senior Constable Mark Muddiman said investigations were continuing into the vessel's grounding on Saturday night, as talks continue today on how the 15m, 40-tonne vessel will be removed from the foreshore.

The Matahari ran aground on Saturday night about 9.45pm.
The Matahari ran aground on Saturday night about 9.45pm. Facebook: Michael James Stapleton

"It appears that one of the crew has fallen asleep at the helm," Snr Const Muddiman said.

No charges have been laid against the crew member over the incident.

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Once Water Police conclude their investigation, the matter will be passed on to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

AMSA will then make the decision over whether to lay charges.

 

Water Police have confirmed Jason Simpson was the owner of the Matahari, but said Mr Simpson was not onboard the vessel when it ran aground.

The Matahari was returning from a two-day crabbing expedition, with two crew members and one passenger aboard.

Snr Const Muddiman said boat operators had a responsibility to be vigilant of their surroundings.

"If you are feeling tired, make sure you stop and get someone else to take over," he said.

"You need to have a safe and proper lookout while operating the vessel."

Topics:  boat boating matahari mooloolaba mooloolaba beach water police


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