York Cove - Campbell Cove Update

Salvage company mobilising plant and equipment as TasPorts continues to actively respond to the collision incident at the Port of Devonport


18 March 2022

Highly experienced Australian-based salvage company United Salvage has commenced mobilising plant and equipment to Tasmania to remove the York Cove and Campbell Cove wrecks from the Mersey River in Devonport.

TasPorts CEO Anthony Donald said that a focus on safety and risk management with wreck removal while returning to business as usual as soon as possible continue to be the key priorities for the port authority.

“Critically, we continue to actively manage the ongoing risk of marine pollution in the Mersey. While a significant quantity of diesel fuel oil, lubricating oil and hydraulic oil has been salvaged, we believe after diver inspections that about 10,000 litres of diesel and oil remain on board the Campbell Cove,” he said.

“While the remaining fuel is contained, there remains a risk of this leaking, hence the appropriately cautious approach we have taken to the salvage of the wrecked tugs.”

Mr Donald said after the 80-metre-long Bass Island Line vessel John Duigan had successfully berthed at Berth 5 West (which was near the wreck site) on a number of occasions, TasPorts was considering visits by other vessels to adjacent berths.

“The John Duigan has undertaken a number of voyages into the new roll on-roll off ramp at the berth with appropriate controls and restrictions in place,” he said.

“The successful movement of the John Duigan has enabled assessment of shipping movements on the wreck site under different environmental conditions and this means we can now work towards safely opening up berth 5 to other vessels.

“Risk assessment work has been completed for the visit of a small gas tanker, Gaschem Homer, at the end of next week into berth 5 with tug support provided by the newly-arrived and highly capable Svitzer Bondi.

“At the same time our team is undertaking risk assessment work for a visit to nearby berth 4 for the delivery of other commodities.

“The outcome of the proposed movement of the Gaschem Homer will play a key part in verifying the risks of having larger vessels pass the wreck site,” Mr Donald said.

Background to the incident

On Friday 28 January 2022, cement carrier Goliath collided with two berthed TasPorts tugs at the Port of Devonport (York Cove and Campbell Cove). The impact of the collision caused significant damage to the tugs, ultimately causing both vessels to sink.

TasPorts responded quickly, deploying oil spill response equipment, and activating its crisis response teams. TasPorts has continued to actively monitor the incident site 24 hours a day, seven days a week since the collision, with a focus on ensuring the integrity of the oil spill containment area and the salvage of hydrocarbons from the wrecks. These activities continue to be supported by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

TasPorts is continuing to assess the status of the incident site, to determine any changes to restrictions as early as practicable.