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The owner of an “unseaworthy” ex-Navy tug has been convicted in Australia of hindering a public official after a violent expletive-laced tirade towards an inspector with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
Anthony Roy Wolfe, the owner of MV Wallaroo, was found guilty of hindering a Commonwealth public official by a Cairns Magistrate Court on October 13. Wolfe’s conviction will be recorded on his criminal record for the next ten years and fined $750.
The incident in question took place when an inspector from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) was carrying out an inspection of the vessel in Brisbane. The AMSA says the inspection revealed serious deficiencies with watertight hatches, defunct firefighting equipment and no life raft on the vessel.
At the time, Wolfe intended on using Wallaroo to transport shipping containers from Cairns to Papua New Guinea under a commercial arrangement. According to the AMSA, during the inspection, Wolfe became aggressive and engaged in an expletive laden tirade forcing the inspector off the vessel and also hindered him in the course of his duties, the AMSA said in a statement.
The Wallaroo was detained under the Navigation Act for unseaworthiness.
General Manager of Operations Allan Schwartz said AMSA would not tolerate violence or threats of violence being made against staff. He also stated that it would not tolerate behavior that hindered staff in undertaking their important duties.
“Our inspectors work every day to make the seas a safer place to work and to protect Australia’s precious marine environments from the impacts of shipping and unseaworthy vessels like Wallaroo,” Schwartz said.
“Our inspectors serve the Australian community, in particular the coastal towns and tourism hubs like Cairns which depend on the sea for their livelihoods.
“Mr. Wolfe’s criminal conviction should serve as a reminder that the Australian community and AMSA will not tolerate this kind of vile behavior,” he added.
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