THE crew of a long-liner fishing boat thought the worst when they struck an object off the Coffs Coast on Tuesday night.
The CJ-DJ was 85 nautical miles north-east of Coffs Harbour when the collision happened and the crew discovered an upturned runabout partially submerged.
Sergeant Don Stewart from Coffs Harbour water police said the crew hooked up the runabout and advised police they were towing it back to port.
Sgt Stewart said police examined the vessel on its return to shore and they had to scratch away barnacles to find the registration number.
“Our inquiries revealed this boat was abandoned in January, 2009, off Eden,” Sgt Stewart said.
“The vessel had started to take water and the crew were winched off by rescue helicopter. It was taken in tow by a police launch from Eden but it rolled over and commenced to sink and was let adrift.
“It now turns out it’s been working its way up the east coast of Australia for the past 14 months.”
The runabout is now in the hands of the water police and its fate will be decided by the insurance company involved.
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