Maritime Safety Queensland

Big chopper brought in for salvage

ONE of the world’s most powerful single-engine helicopters has been brought in to assist with the salvage effort of stricken ship Shen Neng 1.

Only 26 Bell 214B ‘heavy lifter’ helicopters remain in use, and one began lifting salvage equipment to the coal carrier, stranded at Douglas Shoal yesterday.

Damien Lindsay of McDermott Aviation, which owns six of the choppers, said they had four crew in Rockhampton yesterday to move compressors and generators to the site.

Mr Lindsay said the Sunshine Coast based aviation business has been tasked to carry the equipment to salvage experts Svitzer, which was flown in by charter plane from Sydney and Brisbane yesterday.

Both Svitzer and McDermott Aviation were involved in the salvaging of the Pasha Bulker which ran aground during a storm in Newcastle in 2007.

Svitzer, which was appointed by the ship’s Chinese owners, have salvage experts studying the structural integrity of the ship.

The experts will study the strength of the ship before making any decisions regarding its removal.

Also assisting with the salvage effort are two tug boats and Australian Maritime Safety Authority ship Pacific Responder.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told media yesterday he expected the Cairns based specialist oil grounding response ship to arrive off the coast today.

The tug boats have helped to keep the Shen Neng 1 stuck in place using ropes, while the Pacific Responder was expected to help with the drainage of oil from the ship.

The coal carrier has appeared to have travelled at least 30m across the shoal, and coral is currently preventing more oil from flowing out.

Maritime Safety Queensland said no more oil was leaking.

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