CEMENT carrier Goliath allided with two TasPorts tugs ­– Campbell Cove and York Cove – at the Port of Devonport on Friday (28 January) at about midday.

The tugs, which were berthed at the time of the incident, sank after the allision. The incident also caused damage to the Devonport West wharf infrastructure, according to TasPorts.

No injuries were reported.

Australian-flagged Goliath is a 15,599-DWT pneumatic cement carrier operated by CSL Australia. It is 143 metres long (LOA) and is 25.5 metres in breadth.

TasPorts chief operating officer Stephen Casey on Saturday said the response to the incident was continuing due to the severity of the incident, both from an oil spill response perspective and damage to infrastructure (marine and landside).

“TasPorts teams have been continually working on the response since the incident occurred yesterday. The priority remains the containment of oil spill from the submerged tugs,” he said.

“Looking forward, TasPorts has commenced planning for salvage operations for the two tugs. Salvage specialists have mobilised on site and divers are undertaking thorough assessments of the vessels to support planning of next steps.”

TasPorts said it is continuing to work with relevant authorities regarding the response, including the Environmental Protection Authority as the leading agency in the response and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

The state-owned ports corporation said it would work to ensure continuity of shipping movements at Devonport.

Goliath’s bow after the incident. Image: Greg Close

Oil spill in the Mersey

The Environment Protection Authority said its incident management team, in collaboration with TasPorts, has deployed oil-spill recovery equipment in the area.

The EPA said on Saturday that it had removed about 10,000 litres of spillage from the Mersey River.

“A larger 15-tonne oil skimmer has commenced operation and a second, larger 50-tonne oil skimmer will be mobilised in the next 24 hours,” the EPA said.

“Staff from the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania supported by the EPA inspected both sides of the river today and found no sign of injured birdlife or animal casualties.”

ATSB opens investigation, calls for footage

ATSB chief commissioner Angus Mitchell confirmed the bureau had commenced a transport safety investigation into the incident at Devonport.

He said the incident occurred shortly after Goliath arrived at the port after passage from Melbourne and that the tugs received “substantial damages” in the collision.

“A team of transport safety investigators from ATSB’s Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney offices with expertise in marine operations and data recorders are deploying to the accident site,” Mr Mitchell said.

“On site, investigators will examine the vessels and site surrounds, conduct interviews with involved parties and witnesses and review logs. The ATSB will download data from the ship’s voyage data recorder and other recordings for detailed examination in the ATSB’s technical facilities in Canberra.”

The ATSB has called on anyone who witnessed the incident, or who may have CCTV or other footage, to contact the bureau via the witness form on its website.