A BARGE bound for Tasmania to remove the wrecks of sunken tugs York Cove and Campbell Cove has been delayed by severe weather on the journey down from Brisbane.

Lifting barge St Vincent was being towed to Port of Devonport to lift the tugs out of the Mersey River. The tugs sunk in late January after cement carrier Goliath collided with them.

But on Tuesday the master of the tug towing St Vincent advised the weather in Trial Bay – where the vessels had been sheltering – was deteriorating, with strong to gale force winds off the east coast.

According to the most recent incident update from TasPorts, the master recommended sailing north towards Yamba for shelter, but 1.5 and two-meter swells prevented entry to the port.

The tug and barge then proceeded back toward Brisbane. TasPorts said it will communicate the revised departure date when set.


“Once underway again, the weather-dependent voyage will take between seven to 10 days to complete,” TasPorts said.

“The salvage operation will commence as soon as possible after the barge’s arrival and completion of a successful test lift.”

TasPorts said salvage crew personnel will mobilise to Port of Devonport in time for the arrival of St Vincent.

“Importantly, and as noted in previous updates, the wreck of the York Cove remains rigged and ready for lifting once the St Vincent arrives,” it said.

“Commercial shipping continues to be prioritised at the Port of Devonport. Arrangements for shipping at the port remain unchanged – agents can submit booking requests through the normal channel.

“TasPorts’ commercial team is directly engaging with customers to facilitate ship visits to the port.”

TasPorts said it is continuing to assess the status of the incident site to determine any changes to restrictions as early as possible.