Police vessel subject of talks

THE future of Tasmania Police vessel PV Fortescue is again up in the air with the change of government.

The $700,000 patrol vessel-turned-$1.8-million embarrassment has been beset by mechanical and even legal troubles in its short life. 

This week, Assistant Commissioner Phil Wilkinson said there would be talks with new Police Minister Rene Hidding over what to do with the vessel.

Dubbed the PV Sinkalot by critics, PV Fortescue has barely been operational since its commissioning in 2007.

It was bought to replace the 27-year-old PV Freycinet. 

Reports surfaced last year that PV Fortescue would be handed over to Seafood Training Tasmania with Treasury to reimburse police.  

Assistant Commissioner Wilkinson confirmed PV Fortescue was undergoing $70,000 worth of repairs to render it commercially viable. 

Mr Hidding said he would discuss its future with Police Commissioner Darren Hine.

``I want to make sure that what happens to that vessel is in the public's best interests,'' he said. 

Tasmania Police has a fleet of some 38 boats from ocean-going vessels, capable of operating in waters up to 200 nautical miles off the coast, to small inflatable vessels for inland lakes and rivers. 

Treasury is understood to be viewing Tasmania Police's large vessel plan to replace the Fortescue and in five years' time replace PV Van Diemen, which is 18 years old. 

Other vessels set for replacement in five years are the large PV Vigilant, which is 43 years old, and the three-decade-old PV Dauntless used for medivacs.

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