Successful recovery of fuel paves way for next steps

Salvors at the Port of Devonport have recovered more than 18,000 litres of hydrocarbons from submerged tugs Campbell Cove and York Cove.


17 February 2022

As the response continues at the Port of Devonport, following a collision incident involving cement carrier Goliath and two berthed TasPorts tugs, salvors have recovered more than 18,000 litres of pollutants from the submerged vessels. TasPorts Chief Operating Officer Stephen Casey said this is a significant milestone, however, TasPorts is continuing to actively manage the ongoing risk of marine pollution.

“To date, the salvage teams have recovered more than 18,000 litres of hydrocarbons from the two submerged tugs. This includes more than 17,000 litres of diesel fuel oil, 480 litres of lubricating and 1,350 of hydraulic oil,” Mr. Casey said.

“This has been an incredibly complex operation led by a team of highly skilled divers operating in very low visibility, navigating through the access doors and stairways of the submerged and significantly damaged vessels. Following the identification of reservoirs, tanks and voids holding hydrocarbons, the dive team has then had to construct safe and effective methods to pump contaminants to the wharf deck for collection in intermediate bulk containers (IBCs).

“This has been a strong recovery effort to date underpinned by great teamwork and collaboration. For example, our tug engineers provided advice and support to the dive team through CCTV and our operational teams have been on hand every step of the way ensuring the highest standard of safety,” Mr Casey said.

Through this effort, the salvors have been able to identify that there still remains about 10,000 litres of hydrocarbons onboard the Campbell Cove. As a result, the incident site at Berth 3 West at the Port of Devonport remains under active TasPorts control.

“Whilst the remaining fuel is contained, there is still a high risk of leaking if the structural integrity of the tugs changes, such as a shift in positioning. Aligned with our obligations, TasPorts is continuing to proactively manage this environmental risk,” Mr Casey said.

“The successful recovery to date has provided a strong foundation for the next phase of the salvage operations. A tender for the removal of the wrecks from the site closed on Sunday 13 February 2022. Tenders are now currently under review.”

“As part of the review, a salvage plan and methodology will be agreed, with a final salvor anticipated to be appointed over the coming weeks,” Mr Casey said