Cranes have delicately lifted a sewage truck filled with around 10,000 litres of sewage from the water off Great Mackerel Beach, NSW.
A barge carrying the truck capsized, sinking into around five metres of water. Around 15000 litres of diesel were in the barge along with around 400 litres of hydraulic fluid.
NSW Maritime, Fire & Rescue and Hazmat crews installed around 150 metres of reflective containment boom around the site to contain the potential pollutants.
The 18 metres commercial barge is used to transport sewage trucks to the remote area to pump out residential sewage tanks.
Five people were on board when the barge capsized, with one person suffering injuries.
Transport for NSW Acting Director NSW Maritime, Mark Hutchings, said the local community had been keeping a watchful eye on the salvage of the truck and barge and cheered when it was lifted from the water.
“It was a good result for everyone – the biggest risk was for there to be some kind of breach of the sewage holding tanks,” Hutchings said.
“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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Hutchings said 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 said.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority and NSW Maritime marine investigators accessed the barge for their preliminary assessments as part of the investigation.