Southern Moreton Bay Island residents angered by ferry issues

A BARGE and passenger ferry have both broken down on the same day, infuriating Southern Moreton Bay Island residents.

BAY ISLAND: A vehicle ferry stuck on Lamb Island. Photo: Jeff Withers

BAY ISLAND: A vehicle ferry stuck on Lamb Island. Photo: Jeff Withers

The barge became stuck on the Lamb Island boat ramp on Tuesday morning, forcing vehicular ferry services to and from the island to be cancelled.

Earlier the same day, the school ferry was cancelled due to a breakdown.

Sealink chief operating officer Anthony Hayes said the grounding of the barge about 10.15am was due to a mechanical issue.

He said the vessel had been repaired but could be moved only about 7pm because of tides.

People on the barge were transported from Lamb Island but would be able to retrieve their vehicles only after the barge was refloated.

The barge stuck on Lamb Island.

The barge stuck on Lamb Island.

A Facebook post by Stradbroke Ferries stated there would be no vehicle ferry services to or from Lamb Island on Tuesday.

“... Our other two vessels operating to Russell, Macleay and Karragarra islands may be delayed as our crew does their best to pick up as many extra vehicles as possible,” the post says.

“We are also sending an additional vessel Moongalba to assist.”

Mr Hayes told the Redland City Bulletin Sealink had simply not run the school ferry on Tuesday morning but later conceded it had broken down when referred to a Sealink text message sent to island residents.

The message states: “Due to a breakdown there will be no school ferry this morning”.

In the text students were told to travel on regular timetable services. “Students will be given priority on these services.”

The barge stuck on Lamb Island.

The barge stuck on Lamb Island.

Mr Hayes said he was not aware of any impact this had on other passengers.

But Russell Island resident Stephanie Todd said there was insufficient space for all waiting passengers after the school ferry was cancelled.

“Many adults waited for the next ferry but some, like myself, decided not to go to the mainland,” she said.

“We rely on water transport as our only way off the island for work and business and to do shopping, go to the library or for medical and Centrelink appointments.”

In March, the Redland City Bulletin reported on a vehicular barge becoming stuck on the Russell Island boat ramp.

Sealink said at that time the barge became grounded after its engine control cable broke while berthing.

Ms Todd said that with the ongoing costs for ferries, terminals and car parks it might be more economical to build a bridge from the mainland to Russell Island’s Rocky Point.

“MP Andrew Laming could fund this bridge and the infrastructure needed for the islands through the federal government’s Rural and Regional Infrastructure funding package and some funding from the state government,” she said.

“Redland City Council should have been lobbying for this infrastructure long ago.”