VMR: The boat that was rescued off the reef at Lady Musgrave Island.
VMR: The boat that was rescued off the reef at Lady Musgrave Island.

Boat rescue gets a whale audience

VOLUNTEER Marine Rescue crew had an audience of a different kind when they were called to a rescue of a 14.9 metre steel ketch with no steering at Lady Musgrave Island.

VMR public relations officer Dr Graham Kingston said the crew were in the company of a number of whales on Friday as they worked to assist the vessel that had dragged anchor and grounded on the reef.

"Our new vessel, Bundy Rescue 2, made good time to the island in the calm conditions and slowed only on two occasions because of the proximity of whales," he said.

"A tow line was quickly attached to the ketch, again while a pod of whales paraded past."

Dr Kingston said once the tow commenced, it became apparent the ketch would not track behind Bundy Rescue 2, causing a number of problems for the crew.

"The skipper of the ketch had scuba equipment on board and made two unsuccessful attempts to secure the rudder amidships," he said.

"The skipper of the VMR vessel then had to settle for a tow where the ketch was tracking about 50 metres to port of Bundy Rescue 2."

"This made for a hazardous tow because of the potential for girting, where the towed vessel is moving at an angle that could result in capsize of the rescue vessel."

Mr Kingston said the crew had to maintain a constant watch because of the issue.

Bundy Rescue 2 had the disabled ketch berthed in the Burnett River by 10.40pm after a 12 hour, 115 nautical mile trip.