Friday, 30 November 2012 08:12
Operators of a massive barge that ran aground on the Western Australian coastline early Thursday morning say they will concentrate on securing the vessel before investigating why it was allowed to sail in a massive storm.
The 90m barge, loaded with 1800 tonnes of construction equipment including heavy vehicles, aerosol paint cans, 1000 litres of diesel and 1000 litres of hydraulic fluid, ran aground 3km north-west of the Cervantes town jetty.
Operated by Perth based Offshore Marine Services Alliance, the company said they had not confirmed who had authorised the ship to sail as a brutal storm battered WA yesterday and last night.
The company said they would be investigating the circumstances in the coming days.
The WA Department of Transport's Oil Spill Response Co-ordination unit is monitoring the barge, which was under contract to oil and gas giant Chevron.
The barge was en route to Barrow Island from Perth when its tug's main tow line broke on Wednesday night, the department said.
An emergency connection was established in the wild weather conditions and a tow back to shore was started. The new connection broke early on Thursday morning and the barge ran aground.
Meanwhile, emergency services and Western Power worked all day to clean up the carnage caused by the unseasonably high winds.
Investigations continue into the death of 48-year-old man at the Waroona Dam caravan park, also known as the Lake Navarino Forest Resort, near Waroona, some 108km south of Perth, when a large tree fell on his caravan about 3.20am (WST) on Thursday.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services said a mini excavator was used to remove the tree from the caravan, but the man was declared dead at the scene.
The Department of Education said Avonvale Primary School in Northam would remain closed after significant roof damage to the library block.
Deputy director general of Schools David Axworthy said safety first was the watchword when reopening classrooms.
"I do not take any risk with student and staff safety. We regret any disruption that school closures may cause, but I am sure parents would agree in taking the safest option where needed," Mr Axworthy said.
Western Power was still working to restore power to just over 6800 customers on Thursday afternoon.
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