Dodging crocs and sharks, divers from Weipa will this week start work on removing 13 vessels from the waters around Seisia and the Torres Strait.
Carpentaria Contracting was awarded the $2.7 million contract from the state government and owner Vance Wallin said it was good news for the Weipa-based company.
“It’s good for us, it’s good for the Weipa economy and it’s good for the Cape in general,” he said.
“We’ll have about a dozen guys working on this project, which should take about two months.”
After successfully removing old wrecks from the harbour at Cairns, Carpentaria Contracting has developed a strong reputation with Marine Safety Queensland.
“I’m hoping it leads to a lot more work, not just in the Far North but around the state,” Mr Wallin said last week.
“We’ve got the barges and equipment to do the work and we hire local people.”
Retrieving sunken vessels is no easy feat, though.
“It’s not as simple as just dragging them out of the water,” Mr Wallin said.
“You have to get down there and cut them up before you can lift them out. It can be pretty complex, depending on the type of vessel.”
The work has to be done while avoiding the local wildlife.
“We’ll be doing everything as safely as possible but there will be crocs around,” Mr Wallin said.
“Someone will be watching at all times with a rifle.”
The most dangerous sites will be around Seisia, where three vessels will be removed from the water.
“We’ve got one at Albany Island on the east side, another at Badu, and the rest are just in that Thursday Island region,” Mr Wallin said.
This article appeared in Cape York Weekly, 18 January 2021.