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Boating accident survivor urges government to listen to Coroner

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Media Release

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Boating accident survivor, Marija Groen, has urged the government to listen to key safety recommendations made in the Coroner’s court in Melbourne today.

Slater and Gordon, senior lawyer Barrie Woollacott, said his client was still recovering from the severe physical and psychological injuries that resulted from the boat explosion on May 3, 2008 at Pier 35, South Wharf. Two people died when the boat’s engine exploded and a number of passengers, including Ms Groen, were injured.

Mr Woollacott said Ms Groen wanted to see the government adopt the Coroner’s recommendations as soon as possible so that other Victorians do not experience a similar tragedy.

“The coroner has pointed out that there needs to be a regulatory scheme governing the inspection and sale of second-hand boats, similar to what we have for vehicles, to increase safety for private boat owners and users.”

“In addition to that, non-commercial petrol-powered boats, that are older than 15 years, should be required to undergo safety checks by authorised marine surveyors.”

“Given it has already been more than two years since the accident, it is my client’s hope that the government will act quickly in adopting the recommendations to improve the safety of this industry,” Mr Woollacott said.

Ms Groen said the new laws must also be accompanied by greater resources, particularly for the water police.

Ms Groen said she also wanted to commend the “heroic” actions of Michael Callinane who rescued her from the water, the workers at Pier 35, the water police and the search and rescue team.

“Their actions were of great comfort and assist to me and all of those injured. Their quick work at the time made sure that the dangers of any further explosions were minimised.”

Mr Woollacott confirmed that Slater and Gordon was pursing legal action against the boat seller.