Paying tribute to Campbell Cove

Following the collision incident at the Port of Devonport, where two TasPorts tugs were sunk, TasPorts acknowledges the service of tug Campbell Cove.


09 March 2022

The Mersey River and the Port of Devonport have an incredibly rich maritime history. The recent incident at the Port of Devonport has seen two of TasPorts’ critical marine assets – the tugs York Cove and Campbell Cove - damaged beyond repair and as work continues on the recovery of these two vessels, their legacy won’t be forgotten.

Today, we pay tribute to Campbell Cove. Built in 1976 at the historic Carrington Slipway in Newcastle, the Campbell Cove was one of 25 tugs built by Carringtons. She was a beautiful sea kindly ship and spent the beginning of her career as leading Harbour Tug, assisting vessels in and out of Newcastle Harbour.

When she arrived at the Port of Devonport in the mid-1990s, she was considered ‘unique’ compared to her sister tugs. She was the only tug in the Devonport Fleet with twin screw steerable nozzles (TSSN) as a form of propulsion, a new concept for Tasmania’s towage crew at the time.

Campbell Cove at the Port of Devonport

TasPorts Chief Operating Officer Stephen Casey acknowledged the important role Campbell Cove has played through its day-to-day operations, but also in Devonport’s history.

Campbell Cove was an important part of TasPorts fleet and played a critical role in ensuring safe shipping operations at the Ports of Devonport and Burnie over more than 30 years, however people may better remember the important role Campbell Cove played in the 2016 floods that struck the Meander Valley and Mersey River,” Mr Casey said.

“In the midst of the floods, the Mersey Yacht Club’s pontoon broke free and careened downstream towards the Bass Strait. The Campbell Cove and its crew responded quickly and in a remarkable effort, rescued three people from the disintegrating pontoon in the dark of the sea off Devonport.”

The actions of Campbell Cove and her crew during this time resulted in TasPorts’ responding teams being awarded with a Certificate of Appreciation by Tasmania Police.

Campbell Cove is also recognised for her role in the recovery of Super Maxi yacht Skandia, during the 2004 Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Skandia capsized during the 2004 yacht race after losing control of its large canting keel. Campbell Cove, as one of the only ocean-going tugs in the region, was called in to assist the recovery efforts. Skandia was found approximately 90 miles north-east of Flinders Island, after an extensive search. With the crew from the capsized vessel safely rescued and on board, Campbell Cove towed Skandia to Lady Barron, where it was righted and then shipped to the mainland for repairs,” Mr Casey said. “Campbell Cove was kept in first-class condition by her crew and is thought to have been one of the last pirate Class Tugs still in harbour service in the world. Fondly remembered by all who sailed on her – I’d like to recognise the vessel’s service.”

Campbell Cove_Portrait Image
Image Credit RAN Campbell Cove supporting the arrival of HMAS Stuart Feb 2020