News

Man told 'pay up or sink boat'

Former navy seaman (Barnacle) Bill Sizmur is fighting to save the ex attack class vessel HMAS Aware.
Former navy seaman (Barnacle) Bill Sizmur is fighting to save the ex attack class vessel HMAS Aware. Max Fleet/News Mail

A DECORATED former Navy officer is locked in battle with authorities over the insurance of his rare but rusting ship — which could cause a $500,000 clean-up bill if it leaks its store of fuel.

William George Sizmur was fined $10,000 in Bundaberg Magistrates Court for failing to insure the Navy attack class ship he served on in the 1970s.

But outside court, gripping onto an album filled with photos of the ship Aware in her hey-day, Sizmur told the NewsMail he could not bear to let her go.

The Aware is floating in the Burnett River, rust eating away at parts of the vessel that patrolled the ocean for 25 years.

The maximum fine for failing to insure the boat is $85,000.

Maritime Safety Queensland prosecutor Mandy Nixon told the court “a few thousand litres” of fuel was sitting in the ship and, if there was a spill or if it sank, it could cost taxpayers a minimum of $500,000 in cleaning fees.

The prosecutor said 57-year-old Sizmur, having served on the ship for three years between 1974-76, would have “been aware” of its maintenance costs.

Ms Nixon said the steel hull measured 5mm in width and was rusting — a claim Sizmur rejected.

“It’s the best steel BHP could roll. It’s a high tensile steel. (The prosecution) made a big deal about saying it was a 5mm hull — it still would be 5mm,” he said.

Sizmur said the “horrible” rusting back section was added to the ship in Melbourne after it was decommissioned.

The decorated seaman, who two weeks ago received a commendation from the Navy for his actions in a fire on another ship in 1979, brought the 32.6m steel ship up from Sydney in 2006 and claimed he took over registration of the ship after the investors pulled out.

Sizmur, who represented himself in court, told Magistrate John Smith he was having trouble “slipping”, or dry-docking, the ship because the pulley at Burnett Heads could not cope with the tonnage of the vessel.

He told the NewsMail if he could not get the ship out of the water, he would not be able to get it inspected for insurance.

Ms Nixon said in court the maritime authority had offered the former seaman options to get rid of the boat, including giving it to an organisation looking for a new vessel to sink on the artificial Cochrane Reef, off the Bundaberg coast.

But Sizmur said he could not bear the thought of the ship at the bottom of the sea.

“It would be a sad fate for a dying breed. The only other one is in the maritime museum in Sydney,” he said.



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

Local footy player fronts court accused of arson

ACCUSED: Matthew James Tanner, 30, appeared in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court charged with arson and animal cruelty. Photo Contributed

Matthew James Tanner remains in custody

Beach pub in hot water

Moore Park Beach Tavern has gone into administration.

Another local business goes into administration

Local Partners

'He can see!' Mum's tears as boy fights Taipan bite

TWO-year-old Eli Campbell continues to amaze his parents and doctors as he bravely takes on his recovery from a near-fatal taipan bite.


What's on: Saturday, December 3

Not sure what to do today? We've got you covered

Head to the sugar museum for a sweet taste of history

Cutting the ribbon to officially open the revamped Sugar Museum at Fairymead House is Mayor Jack Dempsey and Fairymead House Team Leader Hayley Vale.

Learn about the industry that made Bundy what it is

List of gigs happening around Bundy

KEY NOTE: Country singer Alex Peden. Photo: Scottie Simmonds / NewsMail

There's a live show for everyone

Pop star Liam Payne's Facebook hacked with porn

"Things that can happen to you when you don't have sex."

Tim Roth was abused by his grandfather

Tim Roth was abused by his grandfather during his childhood.

Leo designs shocker tattoo for Tom Hardy after lost bet

Leonardo DiCaprio has designed a new tattoo for Tom Hardy

Hollywood star at home on the Coffs Coast

FEELING LUCKY, SON?: Scott Eastwood visited the Coffs Coast

Guess which Hollywood star has been seen around the Coffs Coast?

Ricky Gervais: There's 'no point' marrying Jane Fallon

RICKY Gervais "doesn't see the point" in marrying Jane Fallon.

Hacksaw Ridge wins big in first round of AACTA Awards

Luke Bracey and Andrew Garfield in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

THE major awards will be handed out on Wednesday night.

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Couple's desperate $550K price drop to sell Gladstone home

Brian Headley and Kirstene Staib are selling their Kin Kora mansion for $750,000.

TELL tale sign of Gladstone's property market.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Prices jump in trio of mining towns

THE boost in coal prices in the past six months has triggered a house price jump in at least three mining towns in Central Queensland.

Boost in coal prices triggers a market turnaround

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!