Cid Harbour wreck to finally be removed after TC Debbie
THE removal of the MV Banks, grounded since Tropical Cyclone Debbie, is set to begin once the current evaluation of tenders is finalised.
Maritime Safety Queensland general manager Patrick Quirk said the department had removed 85 of 97 vessels known to be stranded after the devastating cyclone tore through the region last March.
"Evaluating the tenderers takes us one step closer to the successful removal of the MV Banks and is an important milestone,” Mr Quirk said.
"We have already ensured the removal of all known pollutants on board.
"MSQ is working closely with the Department of Environment and Science to ensure the issue is managed across the key government agencies.
"We will be waiting for a high tide to ensure the successful and safe removal.”
Earlier this year Townsville-based Pacific Marine Group successfully won the tender for the removal of the other large ship to fall victim to Tropical Cyclone Debbie, the Tateyama Maru.
Subject to weather, salvage and environmental management plans, the removal of MV Banks is expected to take place by the end of July.
Mr Quirk said the State Government "was committed to protecting and enhancing the Whitsunday region's pristine environment and the safe navigation of its waterways” despite a lack of action to remove the wreck, which had been left high and dry for the last 14 months.
In the tender information MSQ said the wreck had been stranded at Daniel Point on the western side of Whitsunday Island and had been subject to vandalism and looting.
When quizzed about who would pay for the removal a Department of Traffic and Main Roads spokeswoman said, "It is the owner of a vessel, not the Queensland taxpayer, who must ultimately accept responsibility for its removal. If the owner fails to take responsibility for salvaging the vessel we may seek costs from them through the courts.”