Skipper praises crew after shock superyacht crash
THE skipper at the helm of the yacht which made a dramatic entrance into Cairns' Marlin Marina on Saturday night said hard work and quick thinking from the crew kept the surprise crash from being catastrophic.
Jason Chambers is the master of the superyacht Moatize, which collided with the gangway at E finger of the Marina shortly after 6pm due to a mechanical fault.
Mr Chambers said the crew had been doing everything by the book when the starboard gear became stuck on a tight turn, locking them full ahead.
"We used about thrust to come clear, went astern to try and exit the marina but it was still going ahead," he said.
"We took control in the wheelhouse to see if it was a control fault, it was still going ahead so we did what we're trained to in collisions: we shut down all engines, dropped an anchor and thank God we selected a nice spot where there was no personnel."
Mr Chambers said the yacht, which was built in 1999, had come up from Brisbane and would be staying in Cairns for a couple of weeks.
Cairns-born coal baron Michael O'Keeffe reportedly bought the yacht from billionaire Frank Lowy.
The boat suffered minor damage on the port side in the crash, while the E finger gangway has been closed off for damage assessment.
Ports North corporate services general manager Kerry Egerton said the superyacht berths have been operating for over 10 years without incident.
"The jetty remains closed with restricted vessel operator access. Vessels currently berthed on the jetty are being relocated," she said.
The crash at E finger cut off access to the trawler restaurant fleet Prawn Star, which has now moved over to D finger.
Prawn Star Cairns business manager Kay Green said the beauty of being a floating restaurant was that they could move from the spot and immediately go back to trading.
"Some of the customers thought it was an absolute hoot," she said. "We offered one guy a free beer for the inconvenience, and he just said it was the best thing he'd ever seen his whole holiday."
Ms Green said the crew deserved credit for preventing anyone from getting hurt.