WRECK Tug Anse York, which has been at the bottom of Devonport’s River Mersey since late January, was removed by a heavy lift vessel AAL Melbourne.

York Cove is the first of two sunken tugs to come out of the river. York Cove and Anse Campbell sunk when cement carrier Goliath allied with them in the port of Devonport.

AAL Melbourne was hired by TasPorts and United Salvage after extreme east coast weather conditions prevented the barge from being lifted St. Vincent to travel from Brisbane to Tasmania.

AAL Melbourne sailed from Burnie on Saturday evening and anchored off Devonport before heading to her berth at 0400 Sunday morning to complete the lift.

Frank Mueller, managing director of AAL Shipping Australia, said RCD this is the first time that AAL has taken part in a major rescue operation in Australia. The company has served the Australian general and heavy cargo market for over 25 years.

“Although it was basically a big job for us, it was a very interesting project, with its own quirks and challenges,” Mr. Mueller said.

“Devonport is a lifeline for Tasmania with ferries bringing people several times a day. It is also an extremely busy cargo port, handling three to four million tons of cargo annually.

“As a result, we had to circumvent traffic, weather and tides to ensure the operation went as smoothly as planned by our engineering department, in consultation with United Salvage and all other stakeholders. The operation is still in progress, but is progressing very well.

Mr Mueller said the operation demonstrates the important role heavy lift vessels can play not only in transporting valuable cargo, but also in helping to keep Australia’s shipping lanes clear and open.

“This operation would not have been possible with a container ship or ro-ro ship, which is ironic because at this time of prolonged congestion at ports and terminals across Australia, these vessels are given priority over people carriers and ro-ro vessels. general cargo vessels for port entry slots and our resulting wait times are severe and unbalanced.

TasPorts chief operating officer Stephen Casey said TasPorts, its insurer and United Salvage had worked diligently on the rescue effort.

“Raising the first tug was a slow process, but it had to be done,” Mr Casey said.

“It is made complex by a range of environmental factors, including weather, wind and river currents which have been affected by recent rains, and the condition of the wrecks themselves in the water.”

Mr Casey said the initial allition caused around 60,000 liters of fuel to spill into the river, meaning around 10,000 liters were missing from the two tugs.

He said York Cove weighs 310 tons, but the months spent at the bottom of the river will have impacted the weight of the load.

“The two cranes used to lift the tug offer a lifting capacity of 500 tonnes, but water, marine growth and remaining fuel in the vessel means the exact weight is unknown until we start lifting.

“Furthermore, because the weight of the tug is under tension, the lifting vessel must remain upright, so it is constantly pumping its ballast.”

A decision is heard on the start of salvage work for Anse Campbell was done at the end of the working day.

“We have a positive weather window until Wednesday to complete the second run,” he said.

“In the planning and execution of the second lift, as was the case with the first lift, TasPorts, the salvage company and the operators of the AAL Melbourne will work to manage the safety of TasPorts staff and all contractors on the dock.

“Ensuring environmental protection and the integrity of the oil spill response boom around the wreck site will also be a key objective.”

Mr Casey said the successful removal operation was a significant step forward for TasPorts, which has focused on returning all commercial docks at the Port of Devonport to full operations.