21 February 2011
A complex salvage effort following the collision of the Apollo S and Grand Rodosi last October is now complete.
The four-month operation proved to be an excellent opportunity for local emergency services personnel to put their extensive oil spill training to the test.
The salvage operation began just moments after the two boats collided, when local emergency services in Port Lincoln swung into action. Tumby Bay and Port Lincoln rescue boats were called to respond, together with the Police, MFS, SA Ambulance and Port Lincoln’s Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure oil spill resources.
The grain ship Grand Rodosi hit the tuna vessel Apollo S against the wharf at an estimated speed of five knots during berthing operations The Apollo S sank 30 minutes after it was hit, a clear indication of the extensive damage the accident caused to the wharf. Fortunately there were no crew on board who could have been seriously injured or killed.
A fast response by SES, MFS and Flinders Ports ensured the diesel and leaking oil was contained early. Rescue boats were deployed to erect oil booms to contain the leaking diesel and recover the wreckage from the bay, which proved difficult because of the tuna boat’s location. A small amount of fuel was unable to be contained and was seen on the foreshore that afternoon.
Salvage company, Svitzer partially flotated Apollo S, then towed the boat from berth 6 to berth 8 to be cut up for scrap. Flinders Ports has estimated that repairs to berth 6 wharf will be complete in the next month or so.
“The thorough oil spill training undertaken by Port Lincoln emergency services for many years was crucial to the success of this operation. This accident could have been an environmental disaster,” said Brian Hemming, Director, Transport Safety Regulation.
“I congratulate all those involved for their swift response and outstanding efforts under pressure,” he said.
(Sources: 'Oil Spill Training Put To The Test’ Jim Darling, Frontline Magazine, December 2010, South Australia State Emergency Service Volunteers' Association Inc. and ‘Apollo salvage nearly finished’, Port Lincoln Times, 1 Feb 2011)