THE SALVAGE arm of shipping company Svitzer will base a range of equipment in Karratha in preparation for rapid emergency maritime response, the company has announced.

Svitzer Salvage has experience in emergency response operations, having handled responses to maritime incidents including the grounding of the Pasha Bulker off Newcastle, the grounding of Shen Neng 1 and subsequent oil spill on the Great Barrier Reef and the dismantling of the West Atlas Oil Rig following the Montara incident.

The group is also retained by the Australian Government to respond to emergency maritime situations around Australia.

To be based at Karratha, the new first-strike equipment includes pumps, generators, chains, lighting and a range of other pieces that are standard for rapid emergency maritime responses.

The range of equipment, worth an estimated $100,000, complements existing equipment held by the group at its Sydney headquarters.

It’s the first time such equipment has been permanently stationed in the North-West, with Karratha selected as the base due to the spike in North West Shelf maritime activity.

It was also deemed suitable given its centralised location and ease-of-access to other port locations such as Port Hedland, Broome and Geraldton.

The equipment will be housed in a 20-foot shipping container which can be quickly loaded onto a truck for rapid transport to the ports. Alternatively, selected items can be removed and transported as required.

Svitzer Salvage Australasia general manager Steve Budgen said the equipment would give the company a new edge when responding to maritime emergencies in the North West.

“Maritime emergency response and salvage is always about being ready and moving quickly,” he said.

“The decision follows extensive consultations and feedback from industry and government stakeholders.”
“As well as adding a practical advantage, it also adds peace-of-mind for so many industry players who might require our services in the North West,” he said.

The equipment has been loaded at Svitzer Salvage’s Australasian headquarters in Sydney and will be trucked to Karratha shortly.

“Having such equipment in place in the North West means we’ll be even further on the front foot when we’re called to help,” Mr Budgen said.

The container will be serviced regularly by engineers to ensure the equipment is ready when called upon, Svitzer said.