NSW Maritime and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority will investigate the incident. PHOTO: Twitter
NSW Maritime and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority will investigate the incident. PHOTO: Twitter

Work starts to salvage commercial barge and truck

ARRANGEMENTS are under way to salvage an 18 metre commercial barge and sewage truck from the ocean floor at Great Mackerel Beach at Pittwater.

NSW Maritime and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority will investigate the incident which resulted in the barge being overturned and the truck carrying up to 10,000 litres of sewage sealed in on board tanks, sinking into around five metres of water.

"The recovery operation is complex and challenging due to the size and weight of the vessel and truck, including confirming exactly what's on board," NSW Maritime Executive Director Mark Hutchings said.

"NSW Maritime, Fire and Rescue and Hazmat crews installed around 150 metres of reflective containment boom around the site, which is subject to an exclusion zone, to contain the reported 1500 litres of diesel in the barge and 400 litres of hydraulic fluid.

"The absorbent material within the boom was replaced this morning and while a slight sheen has been visible on water around the site, we are confident it is contained.

"Mackerel Beach is a water access only location and at this stage there is no immediate impact to beaches, residents or the environment.

"Right now the focus is on containment and NSW Maritime is working with the owners of the barge and the insurer to salvage the barge and the truck as safely and quickly as possible, weather permitting."

NSW Maritime is also working closely with NSW Police, NSW Environmental Protection Authority and SafeWork NSW.

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

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

Anyone who has footage of the incident may be able to assist with the investigation and is invited to contact maritimeincidents@rms.nsw.gov.au

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