The Tateyama Maru being cut up at the Port of Townsville last week.
The Tateyama Maru being cut up at the Port of Townsville last week.

Twist in long tale of the Tateyama Maru

JUST when it seemed the final chapter in the book entitled The Tateyama Maru had been written fresh allegations from the ship's former owner have surfaced.

In March last year during Cyclone Debbie the 55-metre former Japanese research vessel broke anchor and was swept on to the shore of Gloucester Island in the Great barrier Reef Marine Park.

After tonnes of pollutants were removed from the vessel by Maritime Safety Queensland the uninsured ship's owner, Patrick von Stieglitz, was forced to relinquish the deed of the ill-fated ship to the state.

Now Mr von Steiglitz is saying he technically never owned the ship at the time of its stranding.

"What happen was when I got cancer and ran out of money we failed to pay the annual fee to ATSIC,” he said.

"They (MSQ) failed to request ownership details at all the different levels and none were produced.

"As a result of this failure they held me to account as the owner and disposed of a ship that they did not have the legal or lawful power to dispose of.

MSQ has been contacted by the Whitsunday Times for comment.