What we know about the Great Barrier Reef – in pictures
The Great Barrier Fleet has confirmed it has lost three lifeboats after it sank in the middle of the reef off the eastern coast of Queensland.
Key points:The ship’s captain, Captain Peter O’Brien, and two other crew members were killed while on their way to portThe vessel was a cargo vessel for a Queensland company, the ABC has learnedThe vessel sank off the coast of CairnsEarly reports said the ship was carrying an 800kg cargo container of lithium, a rare element used in the manufacturing of batteries, which had been recovered from the sea.
The crew were a total of seven people, including a young child.
The Great Barrier fleet is a joint venture between the Australian Federal Government and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSSA), which is the government body responsible for keeping the Great Reef healthy.
The three men who died were Captain Peter “Pappy” O’Connor, 33, Captain Mark “Mojo” Glynn, 31, and Captain Michael “Skee” Hynes, 30.
Their ship was travelling from Cairn Bay to Port Macquarie in the southern part of the Great Australia Archipelago.
“There were five lifeboats on board,” Captain O’Connor’s brother, Peter O. O’Connell, told the ABC.
“All of those were taken away for safety reasons.
There was a lifeboat on the deck.”
Captain Glynn was in the first boat to reach port and was able to retrieve a lifebelts to get the crew off the ship.
The third lifeboat, which was on the bridge, also went down in the water.
Captain Glynn and his two crew members survived the sinking.
“We lost three of our lifeboats.
The three others, we’re going to try and get them back up and then we’re gonna try and recover the third one,” Captain Glynne said.”
That’s the last of the lifeboats that are still on the ship.”
Capt. Glynn said the captain, who is originally from England, was not a captain in his native country.
“I think he’s a very humble man, very happy to be here, and he was always happy to see us and share his home with us,” he said.
The rescue efforts took a while to get underway, Captain Ollie said.
It was not immediately clear how the vessel sank.
“It’s been three days now, and it’s a huge shock, we lost three lives,” he told reporters.
“A lot of lifeboats were gone, but there were still some lifebelted out there.”
The Great Australia Fleet is one of the largest vessels in the world.
It has a crew of nearly 2,000 people, and has been operating in the waters off Queensland since the 1960s.
The vessel lost its three lifebelters, but it was carrying a container of a rare mineral, which is used in battery production, the AMSSA said.