port tasmania

TasPorts teams have pulled the final tug, Wilga, out of the contamination area after a collision at the Port of Devonport between commercial vessel Goliath and TasPorts tugs Campbell Cove and York Cove.

The collision on Friday 28 January caused both TasPorts tugs, which were berthed and stationary at the time of the incident, to take on water, and they became submerged alongside the wharf at Berth 3 West.

No crew members were on board the tugs at the time of the incident, and advice to date confirms no injuries were sustained as a result.

TasPorts Chief Operating Officer, Stephen Casey, said significant planning was integral in the successful extraction of the third tug from the containment area.

“At the time of the incident, a third tug, Wilga, was alongside, narrowly avoiding the collision,” Mr Casey said.

“In response to the incident, TasPorts teams mobilised quickly and deployed oil spill response equipment within 45 minutes of the collision, which captured the third vessel in the containment area.”

Aligned with the Tasmanian Marine Oil and Chemical Spill Contingency Plan and the identified risk of oil spill from the submerged tugs, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took control of the site as the leading agency, with TasPorts continuing to work alongside.

“A plan was developed under the guidance and direction of the EPA to enable the tug’s extraction, whilst minimising impact to the port and potential oil dispersal,” Mr Casey said.

“The plan saw Wilga towed from the containment area as a ‘dead ship’ by tug Watagan from the Port of Burnie, minimising disruption to contaminated water.

“Additional controls were also put in place for the towage operation by TasPorts Harbour Master to ensure the ongoing integrity of the oil spill containment.

“The extraction of the tug was only possible due to the success to date of the oil spill response and perfect environmental conditions.”

Following the successful removal, the tug will now undergo sea trials to confirm no damage was sustained due to the incident, before returning to normal service.

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