Local maritime experts have recommended that a famed Sydney Harbour ferry that sank on the first day of the new year be dismantled where it lies to mitigate the risk of debris contaminating the surrounding area.
The 99-year-old passenger ferry Baragoola, which was formerly operated by the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company and has been in lay-up since 2003, sank at its moorings at Sydney’s Lower North Shore on January 1.
The vessel is presently half-submerged at a depth of between six and eight metres with parts of its wooden superstructure already broken up. Containment booms have been placed around the ferry to prevent the resulting debris from spreading further out into the harbour.
The salvage cost of the sunken ferry is estimated to be $2 million, which experts say is double what it would have cost to remove the vessel while it was still afloat.
Dismantling is being considered as a salvage option due to the fact that many local companies lack the necessary crane capacity for recovering larger portions of the hull from the water.
Transport for New South Wales told local media late last week that the work to remove the wreck will be carried out with the aim of minimising any environmental impact and will take “a number of weeks” to complete.
NSW officials hope to complete the wreck removal before the anticipated onset of heavy rains in the coming days.
Built in 1922, Baragoola operated in the waters off Sydney until it was retired from service in 1983. The ferry was sold to various owners over the next two decades but was never fully restored to operating condition.
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