Following a collision that occurred at the Port of Devonport on 28 January 2022 between cement carrier Goliath
and two berthed tugs, environmental protection remains the top priority as salvage efforts continue at berth 3 West.
TasPorts Chief Operating Officer Stephen Casey said the ongoing risk of further pollution from the submerged tugs is being carefully managed as planning for the next phase of salvage operations progresses and the port authority continues to re-instate commercial shipping operations where it is safe to do so.
“TasPorts has worked tirelessly alongside the EPA to contain and remove a significant volume of spillage since the incident took place two weeks ago. Whilst the response has been successful, small pockets of oil remain inside the submerged tugs and as such, the site remains under active management to minimise the further release of oil, with the containment boom and its ongoing integrity remaining vital to the response,” Mr Casey said.
“Following the monitoring of vessel movements throughout the last two weeks, a risk assessment has been undertaken in consultation with the EPA, which has determined propulsion wash from large commercial vessels assisted by tugs operating close to the incident site poses a significant risk of destabilising the wrecks and oil spill boom and comprising the safety of people.
“To ensure the ongoing high standard of environmental and maritime safety, TasPorts Harbour Master has issued an instruction restricting large commercial vessel access to Devonport 4 West berth, where towage assistance is required. Further, Devonport 5 West berth will be limited by a number of conditions, to minimise the impact of propulsion impact on the wreck site and containment area,” he said.
“These restrictions will remain in place until the wrecks are recovered from the Port of Devonport. Whilst the expected date for completion of the recovery remains uncertain, we anticipate it will be completed prior to 5 May 2022.
“TasPorts has worked hard to minimise disruption to customers as a result of the incident. The ongoing daily sailings of TT-Line and SeaRoad support our ongoing commitment to facilitate trade, as well as the arrival of Kondili for Cement Australia earlier this week at Berth 1 West.
“We will continue to closely monitor all shipping movements in the river, until the successful recovery of the two tugs can be completed, at which point the containment booms can be removed and full shipping activity re-instated.”