Shipping stopped until sunken boat found

SAFE HARBOUR: The salvaged boat was towed back to Mackay Harbour underwater.
SAFE HARBOUR: The salvaged boat was towed back to Mackay Harbour underwater. Emily Smith

FINDING a sunken boat on the bottom of the ocean after two days of searching came as a relief for Jason Dowsey and his crew.

The Megaforce Charters team had been tasked to find the 21-foot boat after it sunk at 6.30am on Sunday, leaving four men stranded off the coast of Slade Point.

While the men were rescued, the shipping lane into the Mackay Harbour where the boat sunk was closed from Sunday until Tuesday afternoon.

With commercial operations halted, Mr Dowsey said time was of the essence for the search crew.

The boat was located Tuesday evening through a hydrographic survey, which Mr Dowsey explained showed all the "lumps and bumps of the seabed", about 200m from where it sunk.

Two divers spent an hour fitting ropes to the boat underwater before it was winched off the sea floor, and towed back to Mackay Harbour.

A North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation spokesman said yesterday the lane was closed for safety reasons.

He also said there was no material impact on trade through the port.

Topics:  sailing ships

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