Salvors complete removal of sunken tugs at Devonport, Australia

The wreck of the TasPorts tug York Cove. The tug sank after being struck by a cargo vessel in Tasmania's Port of Devonport on January 28, 2022. (Photo: TasPorts)

A salvage company has completed the removal of two tugs that sank after being struck by a passing commercial vessel at the Port of Devonport in Tasmania, Australia, earlier this year.

The tugs York Cove and Campbell Cove were successfully lifted out of the Mersey River by a heavy lift vessel operated by AAL Shipping and contracted by United Salvage in an operation that commenced in the first week of August and was completed by the middle of the month.

The 700-tonne AAL Melbourne also transported the recovered wrecks to Brisbane.

Nicola Pacifico, Head of Transport Engineering at AAL, said the recovery was carefully planned and modelled over several months and involved collaboration with key stakeholders including United Salvage, port operator TasPorts, and cargo insurers.

Pacifico added that the lifting took time as the tugs weighed significantly more than expected due to trapped water and fuel. This was resolved through debunkering and sediment removal by United Salvage.

TasPorts CEO Anthony Donald remarked that the salvage effort was made challenging by tides, the weather, the natural eddies in the area, and potential marine pollution. TasPorts therefore worked closely with Environment Protection Authority Tasmania, which had representatives on site to advise on environmental management.

The two TasPorts-operated tugs sank after they were struck by the CSL Australia cement carrier Goliath as it was manoeuvring in the port’s waters on January 28, 2022.

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