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Tropical Cyclone Debbie Batters Boats in Queensland

Mar 30th 17


Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Debbie and its peak winds of 263 kilometers per hour made landfall on March 28 in Australia’s Queensland state, and boats weren’t immune to the destruction left in its wake. 


Photos published by local news outlets show boats at Airlie Beach’s nearby Abell Point Marina and Shute Harbour, which serves as the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands, and Hamilton Island sunken, washed ashore after breaking from moorings, or otherwise damaged. While reports are yet to be confirmed, an estimated 10 boats out of 500 were badly damaged at Abell Point, 47 boats were lost at Shute Harbour, and 8 to 10 boats were damaged at Hamilton Island.  


Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox told a local news source that at Shute Harbour, “thirty vessels were blown up on the rocks and pontoons were damaged,” while The Australian reports that piers were destroyed and pushed onto the bank in the same location. 


Abell Point’s General Manager Luke McCaul states in the marina’s press release that the storm is the biggest ever to have affected the Whitsunday region, but that the marina should have full access again by the start of the cruising season. 


According to the release, the marina has already begun repairing and assessing damage: “Pontoon fingers in the north marina have cracked, as a result of the destructive winds and huge swells at the high tide. Crews are out throughout the marina further securing vessels and chaining pontoons where possible to prevent further movement until the weather abates. The full extent of the damage is at this moment unknown and it will take some time for the entire marina and all infrastructure to be assessed. The sheer size and force of the system resulted in damage of some marina infrastructure and basic services (power, water, fuel).” 


But the boats weren’t the cyclone’s only victims — according to The Weather Channel, parts of the Great Barrier Reef may also have been damaged by the pounding surf. 


The extent of damages to the coral, boats, and marinas is still yet to be determined.  


[Photo: Cyclone Debbie Facebook page] 


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