Coochiemudlo Island residents are adjusting to life with a new barge operator after Moreton Island barge owner Steve Wallace bought the beleaguered Megamia Barge service on December 22.
Mr Wallace, who owns the six-car barge Scorpio which services southern Moreton Island from Amity Point, will run Megamia Barges’ 13-car Sirenia and the smaller six-car Megamia under the Amity Trader brand.
Lamb Island resident Donna Davis had run the Megamia Barge service for 10 years since the death of her husband Ray in 2001.
Last year, Ms Davis’s two boats were taken out of service for failing Maritime Safety Queensland regulations and a man was charged with unlicensed driving.
Services were further disrupted when cables holding up the drawbridge on the Sirenia snapped, the boat’s gearbox blew up and it ran aground.
Redland City Council gave Mr Wallace a temporary landing permit in November so he could keep services to the island running while Ms Davis’s two boats were repaired and refitted.
On December 22, the council gave Mr Wallace permanent landing rights for Victoria Point and Coochiemudlo Island at a cost of about $10,000.
The Megamia barge, which failed an MSQ seaworthiness certificate in September, is now being overhauled and is under survey.
It is expected Megamia will be back in the water in April and Scorpio will stand as backup to Sirenia during busy periods.
Mr Wallace, who holds a Master Class 4 licence, said he would continue to run the seven-day-a-week Coochiemudlo Island barge service from Victoria Point using the Sirenia and would stick to the existing timetable.
He said prices and contact details would not change and he would drive the boat three days a week with a roster of captains.
“We are pleased to be here,” Mr Wallace told Redland Times.
“We have been welcomed by the community and we look forward to a long and happy relationship with locals, tourists and businesses.
“We are here for the long haul and hope to gradually improve services to Coochie,” Mr Wallace said.
As well as the daily services to Coochiemudlo Island from Victoria Point, Amity Trader will also offer services including bulk haulage, house moving, heavy machinery transport and charter operations for diving and offshore support.
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