This Friday night I am really looking forward to attending the celebrations of Sea Swift's 30th anniversary. Sea Swift transports the bulk of the freight goods from Cairns to Cape York and the furthest reaches of the Torres Strait Islands, and recently expanded into the Northern Territory. It offers mothershipping, project and charter services and a few years ago diversified into luxury cabins for adventure cruising-a real success.
The business was established in Cairns in 1987 by Sid Faithfull, who prior to this had worked out of Karumba in the 1970s and early 80s, offering a mothership service to fishing trawlers. Since then, Sea Swift has provided a vital and reliable service through thick and thin, and is now the largest privately-owned shipping company in Australia.
There is no doubt that operating in this region creates a range of challenges and constraints, from its remoteness to the tropical climate, to high travel and rental costs for labour and crewing, and to restrictions in accessing infrastructure such as ramps and channels. Nevertheless, Sea Swift deals with these challenges very successfully and, over the past three decades, the business has grown in turnover and staffing and has expanded into new communities.
While there are many who have tried to replicate the service, no-one has come close to what Sea Swift has been able to achieve. They have proven to be an outstanding corporate citizen and have chipped in whenever I have asked for help. This includes transporting containers of donated clothing up to the Torres Strait for distribution to the Treaty Villages of Papua New Guinea.
They also joined two 20-foot containers to create a purpose-built facility for the Ellis Beach Surf Life Saving Club so that the nippers do not have to cross the busy Captain Cook Highway to get their equipment.
Earlier this year, my wife, Yolonde-in partnership with RRRC Connect and Soroptimists International Cairns-collected donations of used linen for the women of the Western Province. Sea Swift willingly delivered seven shipping containers of linen to Saibai Island for distribution by local rangers to the Treaty Villages and sought nothing for it.
Whenever there is a community need, Sea Swift has always put their hand up first, and I have an enormous amount of respect for the work they do. Their contribution leaves a very positive legacy. Congratulations again to Fred White and the team at Sea Swift on their 30th anniversary milestone. Here is to many more decades of success. I look forward to kicking my heels up with my wife, Yolonde, at Friday's event.