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ACE Reports

SHIPMASTER'S REPORT: December 1993 (Updated 2002)
Torres Strait Pilot Associations:  On this occasion (loaded passage from Kumul to Dalian), we were instructed to sail via Torres Strait.
Torres Pilot of the Torres Pilot Service boarded at Kumul during final stage of loading on 2 December and left vessel off Booby Island on 3 December at 1506 hrs.
Nomination:  On this occasion I selected ``Torres Strait Brisbane'', merely guided by the ``Guide''. The given information herein was in line with my experience earlier this year (April), when we also passed through Torres Strait.
We sent our initial telex to ``Torres Brisbane'', copied to the old telex number of Thursday Island Pilots, unaware of the present situation of two competitive Pilot Associations covering the same area. However, within one hour I knew there were now two Associations.
I then nominated Coastal Pilots (Torres Pilots) as their pilot could join the vessel at Kumul. Two reasons for that decision, the weather was not very favourable in the area, and having a pilot already on board saves up to one hour, as you can now pass Dalrymple Island at full speed, no slacking down, etc.
Performance:  In my opinion, both Pilot Associations will perform equally. They are the same pilots as in earlier days, only they split themselves on July 1st 1993.
Torres Pilots kept the Brisbane Office with the telex number, and have kept their relations with agencies.
Reef Pilots kept the launches in Torres Strait and the old telex numbers, but severed connections with agencies.
Passages:  For most passages through Torres Strait, Barrier Reef and Great North East Channel, both Associations can be used.
When coming from New Zealand, there is no deviation, only that the pilot is on board for an extra 180 miles. However, coming from the south (Australia/Tasmania), ships have to deviate.
Pilots report the following information:
Charts:  Australian Charts No. 292/296 respectively.
Anchorages:  Eastern Side:  Prince of Wales Channel: Lat. 10° 32′ S, Long. 142° 32′ E. Depth 17.0 m.
Western Side:  Prince of Wales Channel: Lat. 10° 34′ S, Long. 142° 04′ E. Depth 12.0 m.
Thursday Island:  It is the northern administrative headquarters for the Federal and Queensland Governments for Cape York area.
Medical:  Good medical facilities, evacuation either by helicopter or pilot launch. For more extensive treatment, patients sent by Flying Doctor Service to Cairns.
Services:  Mail, air freight, limited stores can be arranged by pilot boat/helicopter.
Custom Services:  Available.
Repatriation:  If necessary, urgent crew/Superintendent joiners/leavers via launch/helicopter.
Airport:  Regular service flights between Cairns/Thursday Island.

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Also see General before first Australia port
OVERVIEW:  The strait links the Coral Sea to the east with the Arafura Sea in the west. An important international sea lane, it is very shallow and is approx. 81 n.m. wide at its narrowest extent. The maze of reefs and islands can make it hazardous to navigate. Pilots operating in the Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef area are licensed by the Australian Government.
For full details of pilotage services, see Australian Notice to Mariners No. 23, Great Barrier and Torres Strait Pilotage Services.
LOCATION:  Between Australia and the Melanesian island of New Guinea. To the south is Cape York Peninsula, the northernmost continental extremity of the Australian state of Queensland. To the north is the Western Province of the independent state of Papua New Guinea.
CHARTS:  AUS Charts No. 376, 700, 839, 840 and 4620.
Publications:  Australian Pilot, Vol. 3, NP 15.