A PROTESTER suspended herself from the mooring line of fishing boat Antarctic Discovery in Port of Hobart last week, an action TasPorts described as “reckless and dangerous”.
The protester, representing environmental NGO Bob Brown Foundation, reportedly hung a banner on the Australian Longline-operated vessel and climbed onto the mooring line on 23 June.
According to Bob Brown Foundation, 19-year-old Billie Raffety was protesting the presence of the vessel in Hobart and its “true nature as an Antarctic destroyer”.
A statement from the foundation suggested the Antarctic Discovery crew and TasPorts workers lowered the protester into the water by dropping the mooring line.
TasPorts CEO Anthony Donald said the safety of the protester had been placed at “considerable risk” in one of Tasmania’s busiest ports, which is also a Commonwealth secure port zone.
“We are dismayed the Bob Brown Foundation chose to apparently condone this incredibly risky behaviour in such a dangerous area,” Mr Donald said.
A campaigner from Bob Brown Foundation suggested lowering the protester into the water while attached to the mooring line with ropes and a harness endangered her safety.
However, Mr Donald emphasised the danger of interfering with or climbing a commercial vessel’s mooring ropes as taut lines and the mass of a large, berthed vessel have “incredible energy potential”.
“The areas around them are managed as snap back zones and are considered extremely high risk due to the risk of significant injury,” Mr Donald said.
“To purposefully attach a protestor to a mooring line under pressure and then leaving the scene is both reckless and dangerous and shows extremely poor judgement by the Bob Brown Foundation.”
TasPorts said although the actions occurred in non-restricted water, it is reviewing the incident to consider whether it constitutes a regulatory reportable incident.
“TasPorts is committed to protecting the health and safety of its employees and contractors on the waterfront,” Mr Donald said. “This protest action seriously compromised this.”
It is understood Bob Brown Foundation filed an official statement with police concerning the actions of TasPorts and Australian Longline.
TasPorts said Tasmanian Police were notified and attended the scene of the incident.