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THE 55-metre-long receiving barge Intan arrived at the Port of Devonport this week ahead of the removal works for the York Cove and Campbell Cove tugs from the Mersey River.

The lifts of the wrecked tugs will commence as soon as the 60-metre-long lifting barge St Vincent arrives in Devonport from Brisbane.

St Vincent’s departure has been impacted by bad weather, TasPorts said in a statement. The barge’s owners are waiting for a window in the weather system to start the voyage, expected to be late next week.

“Keeping the barge safe is of critical importance. Given its size, it has limited flexibility with respect to environmental parameters when transiting in open waters,” TasPorts said.

“The crane barge will pick up one tug at a time, lift them clear of the water and lower them into a specially constructed cradle on the receiving barge.”

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The tugs will then be transported to Bell Bay for disposal.

TasPorts chief operating officer Stephen Casey said specialist salvage divers and salvors from United Salvage, the Australia-based company appointed to recover the wrecks, had been working to prepare the tugs for lifting over many weeks.

“These significant preparatory works means that the salvage operation proper can commence as soon as possible after both barges arrive at Devonport,” he said.

Mr Casey said TasPorts had been focused on removing the York Cove and Campbell Cove wrecks and returning all commercial berths at the Port of Devonport to full operations while at the same time carefully managing environmental and maritime safety matters.

The two tugs sank when the cement carrier Goliath allided with them while they were berthed on 28 January.

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