On Friday January 28, cement carrier Goliath collided with two berthed TasPorts’ tugs at the Port of Devonport (York Cove and Campbell Cove) in Tasmania, Australia. The impact of the collision caused significant damage to the tugs, ultimately causing both to sink.
Drew Shannon, the managing director of United Salvage, the Australian-based company appointed by TasPorts to recover the York Cove and Campbell Cove tugs from the Mersey River in Devonport, said specialist salvage divers and salvors would prepare the tugs for lifting by placing chain slings beneath both tugs and purging water from the York Cove.
“One of the complexities to take account of is that we are lifting a vessel that is underwater, and that is reducing weight as we are lifting it,” he said.
“They are heavily damaged tugs. Their condition is not how they were designed to operate. We have to be very careful because of the known damage and get our engineering and lift plans correct.”
Mr Shannon said specialist salvage barges were expected to arrive in Devonport from Brisbane and Newcastle respectively to commence the salvage operation in mid-April, subject to weather conditions.
“Our team will be pre-preparing both tugs for lifting prior to the barges arriving,” he said. “The 55-metre-long receiving barge, the Intan, will be travelling to Devonport from Newcastle, while the 60-metre-long crane barge St Vincent, with a lifting capacity of up to 700 tonnes, will arrive from Brisbane.
“The crane barge will pick up one tug at a time, lift them clear of the water and lower them into a specially constructed cradle on the receiving barge. The tugs will be sea fastened and transported to Bell Bay for disposal.”
Meanwhile, TasPorts welcomed the 121-metre-long fuel tanker Stolt Sakura – the first since the cement carrier Goliath collided with the tugs at the end of January – into Devonport yesterday.
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