Dud police boat offloaded

THE state government has refused to be drawn on how much a new police boat would cost or when it would be in use, after it sold the dud police vessel Fortescue for tens of thousands of dollars less than the asking price.

Yesterday, the government confirmed it had sold the boat for $250,000, including GST, to a buyer in Western Australia.

The money will go towards a new search and rescue boat.

In June, Police Minister Rene Hidding told The Examiner that the PV Fortescue had been independently valued and the government hoped to get more than $300,000 for it.

‘‘It’s a lot of floating hardware; it’s a vessel that has got a lot of good gear on it,’’ he said.

‘‘It just ended up to be not fit for task, for a whole bunch of reasons.

‘‘That doesn’t mean it won’t be fit for another task.’’

The boat was sold by public tender and offers over $280,000 were invited to be submitted before July 31. When asked how much a new boat would cost and when it would become operational, Mr Hidding said yesterday that the government would not speculate on the budget, due at the end of the month.

He slammed the PV Fortescue as ‘‘an embarrassing, drawn-out saga under the former government, which wasted almost $2 million on a white elephant’’.

The advertisement stated the boat was unfit for its intended purpose and had vibration problems at certain engine revolutions, making it untenable for longer, continuous running periods.

This made the boat unsafe for use as a rescue vessel at sea.

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