The heavy lift ship AAL Melbourne has lifted the wrecked tug, the York Cove, from the Mersey River.
The 194-metre-long AAL Melbourne was engaged by United Salvage (the Australian-based company appointed to recover the York Cove and Campbell Cove wrecked tugs) to undertake the removal works.
The AAL Melbourne travelled from Burnie overnight, anchoring off Devonport before heading to its berth at 4am today to undertake the lift.
TasPorts chief operating officer Stephen Casey said TasPorts, its insurer (Shipowners) and United Salvage had been working diligently on the salvage effort.
“The lift of the first tug was a slow process, but it needed to be,” he said.
“It is made complex by a series of environmental factors, including weather, wind and river currents that have been affected by recent rain, and the condition of the wrecks themselves in the water.
“The initial allision resulted in an estimated 60,000 litres of fuel being spilled into the river, meaning about 10,000 litres was unaccounted for across both tugs.
“The York Cove weighs 310 tonnes. The two cranes used to lift the tug provides a lifting capacity of 500 tonnes, but the water, marine growth and fuel left in the vessel means the exact weight is unknown until we start lifting.
“Further, as the weight of the tug comes under tension, the lifting ship needs to remain upright, so it is constantly pumping its ballast tanks.”
Mr Casey said a decision on the commencement of the salvage works for the Campbell Cove wreck would be made at the conclusion of today’s work.
“We have a positive weather window until Wednesday to complete the second lift,” he said.
“In planning and executing the second lift, just as was the case with the first lift, TasPorts, the salvage company and the operators of the AAL Melbourne will be working to manage the safety of TasPorts staff and all contractors on the wharf.
“Ensuring the protection of the environment and the integrity of the oil spill response boom around the wreck site is maintained will also be a key focus.”
Mr Casey said today was an important step forward for TasPorts which had been focused on removing the York Cove and Campbell Cove wrecks and returning all commercial berths at the Port of Devonport to full operations, while at the same time carefully managing environmental and safety.