Rescuers prepare sunken tugs in Devonport

MONTHS after January alliance between cement companies Goliath and two TasPorts tugs moored at Devonport harbour, rescuers prepare York Cove and Anse Campbell to lift.

TasPorts commissioned the Australian company United Salvage to carry out the delicate operation.

United Salvage general manager Drew Shannon said specialist divers and lifeguards would prepare the tugs for lifting by placing chain slings under both tugs and draining water from York Cove.

“One of the complexities to consider is that we’re lifting a ship that’s underwater, and that reduces the weight as we lift it,” he said.

“These are heavily damaged tugs. Their condition is not the way they were designed to work. We must be very careful due to the known damage and ensure that our engineering and lifting plans are correct. »

Mr Shannon said specialist rescue barges were due to arrive in Devonport from Brisbane and Newcastle to begin the rescue operation in mid-April, subject to weather conditions.

“Our team will prepare the two tugs for lifting before the barges arrive,” he said.

“The 55-meter-long receiving barge, the Intanwill travel 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 take one tug at a time, lifting them out of the water and lowering them into a specially constructed cradle on the receiving barge,” Mr Shannon said.

“The tugs will be tethered out to sea and transported to Bell Bay for disposal.”

Meanwhile TasPorts will host the 121 meter long tanker Stolt Sakura – the first from the cement company Goliath collided with two TasPorts tugs berthed in late January – in Devonport on Tuesday 5 April.

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