AAL Shipping (AAL) has undertaken a salvage operation to remove two tugs from the Mersey River in Devonport on the north-west coast of Tasmania that had been sunk by a cement carrier in January. Chosen for the job was the 31,000DWT 700 tonne heavy lift vessel, the AAL Melbourne, and involved the lifting of the tugs and their onward shipment along the East Coast to Brisbane. New South Wales based emergency response, salvage and environmental support specialist, United Salvage, engaged AAL to supply a vessel from its longstanding ‘Asia to Australia East Coast Liner Service’.
The first tug, the 420 tonne York Cove was carefully pulled out of the Mersey on Sunday 7th August by the AAL Melbourne using her two port-mounted cranes working in tandem – the tug having had large holes cut into her hull to allow trapped water and sediment to drain. The second tug, the 455 tonne Campbell Cove, was recovered and loaded onto the AAL Melbourne a few days later. Both tugs were securely lashed to the weather deck of the ‘mega size’ vessel in preparation for their onward shipment to Brisbane and utilising specifically designed cradles loaded previously in Burnie.
Chris Yabsley, Chartering Manager at AAL Australia commented, ‘United Salvage originally planned to use a floating crane and barge to recover these tugs. However, once we demonstrated that our A-Class vessel could not only recover the tugs but also transport them back up the East Coast for delivery to Brisbane, it was clear that AAL would be the perfect partner.’
Nicola Pacifico, Head of Transport Engineering at AAL, explained, ‘The recovery was carefully planned and modelled over several months and involved collaboration with several key stakeholders including United Salvage, TasPorts and cargo insurers. Even the Australia Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) was required to confirm our calculations with our ship’s class (DNV).