Submerged sewage truck shipshape after salvage

Incident involving sunken barge and sewage truck raised a stink

Submerged sewage truck shipshape after salvage
RMS Maritime vision of the salvage operation


An 18-metre commercial barge and sewage truck that sank at Great Mackerel Beach at Pittwater has risen on the third week, with the resurrection hailed a success by NSW Maritime.

The incident occurred on August 21 and there were initial concerns about containing the reported 1500 litres of diesel in the barge and 400 litres of hydraulic fluid.

The most delicate part of the marine salvage operation "has been completed without a hitch", with the truck filled with around 10,000 litres of sewage removed from the seabed five metres below the surface.

"It was a good result for everyone – the biggest risk was for there to be some kind of breach of the sewage holding tanks," Transport for NSW acting director NSW Maritime Mark Hutchings says.

"A well-crafted salvage plan with appropriate marine pollution response equipment and trained specialist staff on site has ensured the optimum result.

"The salvage team appointed by the barge owner and insurer, overseen by NSW Maritime, has done a great job. Slow and steady has won the race."

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Running a tight ship, Hutchings says two chain slings were attached by divers to the front and the back of the truck in order for it to be lifted level and stable from the water in order to not compromise the integrity of the sewage tank.

"A full assessment of the integrity of the truck will now be carried out within the exclusion zone before it is towed to be transferred onto land," he says.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority and NSW Maritime marine investigators accessed the barge for their preliminary assessments as part of the investigation.

The barge was turned on Friday and then lifted from the water on Monday.

The 18-metre commercial barge was used to transport sewage trucks to the remote area to pump out residential septic tanks.

Five people were originally on board at the time of the incident, with one person reportedly suffering injuries.


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