FOLLOWING the late-January incident where two tugs sank at the Port of Devonport, there is still a “significant” and ongoing risk of an “environmental disaster”, according to TasPorts.

The state ports operator said despite the incident site at Berth 3W being stable, the risk remains.

In a recent update, TasPorts said there is about 10,000 litres of inaccessible diesel and oil remaining in the structurally unsound wrecks sitting on the river floor.

“This is evidenced by a continual release of oil pollution from within the wrecks that is being managed with daily skimming operations and contained within an oil spill containment boom,” TasPorts said.

“The EPA has advised the oil spill boom footprint is appropriate to manage the existing oil spill risk and any potential uncontrolled oil spill risk.”

TasPorts in a recent statement said, after a “thorough assessment process with insurers”, it has confirmed that United Salvage is the preferred contractor to remove the wrecks from Berth 3 West.

The company has already begun mobilisation of plant and equipment and TasPorts said all parties are working through the detailed work schedule and operating plans.

And, TasPorts said, following John Duigan’s trial voyage into 5 West, the port operator can consider movement requests for vessels of a similar nature into this berth (LOA 80 metres).

“Requests will be subject to a risk assessment by the harbour master and the application of appropriate controls, such as restrictions on arrival and departure times and supporting marine services,” TasPorts said.