Statement: release of site assessment report

Please attribute to a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority spokesperson:

“The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority today released its site assessment of Henry Reef where the Australian Border Force vessel Roebuck Bay grounded in September 2017.

“The vessel was on a passage from Saibai Island in the Torres Strait Islands archipelago bound for Lizard Island, located about 71 nautical miles south-east of Cape Melville.

“Henry Reef (reef number 12-053), where the grounding occurred, is located in the Far Northern Management Area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

“The report details the results of a four-day site assessment, which took place in October and aimed to calculate the spatial extent and nature of damage and collect evidence.

“Due to the comprehensive nature of the report, our investigations team has spent the last two months since the site inspection compiling and cross-checking the report’s information.

“Damage from the grounding was contained within 990 square metres on the north-western aspect of Henry Reef — equivalent to about 13 per cent of a rugby league field.

“Within this damage footprint, actual damage to the reef covered 330 square metres, equivalent to about 5 per cent of a rugby league field.

“Australian Border Force is working with us to determine the best way to clean-up the area.

“Subject to weather conditions in the New Year, field officers from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service will begin cleaning up the site.

“The exact nature and timing of the work is being further planned and work will start when the weather conditions are safe to do so.

“Once the work is completed, the damaged area should be able to regenerate naturally within five to seven years.

“The grounding incident itself is still under investigation.”