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Almban to the rescue
Monday 25 August 2014 – 3:30 PM
Marine search and rescue resources in the Kimberley have increased with the delivery of a new purpose built vessel to the Bardi Jawi rangers.
The specialised ranger boat Almban, meaning westerly wind in Bardi language, was launched on Friday 2 May at One Arm Point. It will enable the rangers to access, manage and protect the remote islands and coastline of the Dampier Peninsula.
The eight metre vessel is a global marine design air-rider tri-hull vessel, which was purpose built for the Bardi Jawi rangers and can carry a crew of eight. Equipped with the latest marine communications and search technology, it will enable the rangers to more effectively perform their marine rescue activities.
Assistant Commissioner (AC) Graham Swift said the Bardi Jawi rangers provide a marine search and rescue response for communities and visitors of the One Arm Point region of the Dampier Peninsula.
“The Bardi Jawi rangers provide a much needed emergency response capability in a remote part of WA that can experience treacherous marine conditions with elaborate reef systems and high tidal movements,” AC Swift said.
“Recreational and tourist boating activity has been steadily increasing as access to the area improves in conjunction with industry and community growth in the wider Kimberley region.”
Captain of the vessel and Bardi Jawi head ranger Phillip McCarthy said his team had worked extremely hard to secure the boat and complete the marine training required to operate it.
“We have undertaken significant marine training and are aiming for all of our rangers to have coxswain qualifications, so they can skipper the vessel. We have also completed marine rescue training so we will be able to use the vessel to assist in emergency situations,’’ he said.
The Bardi Jawi people of One Arm Point and Lombadina/Djarindjin are a traditional owner group of over 900 people who reside in the area.
In addition to the on-call marine rescue operations, they perform a number of a natural and cultural resource management activities as well as community engagement and research activities.
Facilitated by the Kimberley Land Council, the Bardi Jawi rangers are responsible for managing the 200 kilometres of coastline within the Bardi Jawi native title area and implementing targeted conservation management strategies within the Bardi Jawi Indigenous Protected Area.
Jointly funded through DFES, Lotterywest and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs the new vessel provides a significant stepping stone for rescue response, training and skills development.