Ferry bans island truckie over COVID mask rant
A truckie, who lives on a bay island, has been banned from travelling on passenger ferries for a year after he started swearing when he was asked to wear a COVID mask while on-board.
Russell Island resident Michael Thompson was hit with a $130-on-the-spot fine after the incident on a Sealink passenger ferry in January, during a COVID outbreak in southeast Queensland.
Three days later, Mr Thompson said police went to his island home and served his daughter with a letter banning him from using the service for a year.
The letter, signed by Sealink Bay Islands Operations Manager Paul Johnston, said the ban was because of Mr Thompson's "behaviour" on two occasions on the ferry when police were called.
"At completion of the 12-month period, you will be required to make an application in writing to the company to have this ban removed," the letter said.
Sealink said Mr Thompson would still be eligible to travel on the car barge as a walk-on passenger paying the extra $47 ticket cost per trip.
The company refused to clarify what the conditions and behaviour were that led to the ban but indicated that it was due to Mr Thompson swearing at staff when he was told to put his mask back on.
"The letter to the customer is the only communication on this matter."
The ban has wreaked havoc with the family man and his business.
The 39-year-old has been forced to sell a truck he used in his delivery business and to start packing up his family of seven children to move off the island.
Mr Thompson said he would soon be forced to sell his business and return to work as a nurse.
"We can't stay on the island if I can't get to and from work easily," he said.
"It's costing way too much to catch the barge and the time difference is also a factor as it used to take 20 minutes but now takes an hour, which means I am not at home for the kids.
"My 14-year-old son has an internal heart defibrillator and had a heart attack at school last year so being an hour away is difficult and I also can't go anywhere after 6pm as there are no barges."
Mr Thompson also questioned the police role in handing out the ban for a private company.
He said he believed he had been singled out because he was in the process of starting an island delivery business, which he called Linkseas.
He also questioned forcing him to report back to police before he could use the ferry again after the 12-month ban and fine.
Originally published as Ferry bans island truckie over COVID mask rant