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Barge cranes to salvage capsized barge and sewage truck

Two crane barges are scheduled to leave Sydney Harbour to salvage an upturned barge and sewage truck that have become submerged just off Great Mackerel Beach, NSW.

Two crane barges are scheduled to leave Sydney Harbour to salvage an upturned barge and sewage truck that have become submerged just off Great Mackerel Beach, NSW.

Last Wednesday, an 18 metres commercial barge with a sewage truck on board capsized just offshore of the beach.

The waste material inside the truck is contained and has not entered the water.

Around 150 metres of reflective containment boom has been installed around the site, which is subject to an exclusion zone.

Transport for NSW A/Executive Director Maritime, Mark Hutchings, said NSW Maritime is working with stakeholders, including the vessel and truck owners and their insurers, to coordinate the complex salvage effort.

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“The main focus throughout this delicate maritime retrieval is on ensuring the best safety outcomes for personnel on site, including the public, while minimising the risk to the environment, noting there is around 10,000 litres of sewage contained inside the holding tank of the truck,” Hutchings said.

“Offshore weather will be a critical factor in determining the timing of the removal of the truck and barge from the water as barges and equipment need to travel offshore to the site from Sydney Harbour.

“We are confident the barge and truck are secure in location and there is no indication of sewage leaking from the truck on the seabed. We also know the truck is lying upside down beneath the barge.”

A number of options are being examined by the salvage master, which include decanting the sewage from the truck while lifting it from the sea bed. Contingencies have been built into the plans to minimise the risk of potential contamination.

“The vessel owner is responsible for covering costs associated with the salvage through insurance,” Hutchings said.

“Across the weekend, NSW Maritime staff will be on site, carrying out regular beach inspections and will be available to chat with community members in the area.”

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