Last Pieces of MV Tycoon Hauled Off Christmas Island

Red crabs were amongst one of the environmental concerns in the days following the January 8th grounding and oil spill.  The M/V Tycoon can be seen here in the top right. Photo: AMSA

More than six months after wrecking on the jagged cliffs of Australia’s Christmas Island, the last remaining pieces of the M/V Tycoon have been removed and crews are going home.

The vessel has been a thorn in the islands’ (and governments) side ever since “breaking free” of it’s moorings on January 8 and splitting up along the cliffs of the Islands’ Flying Fish Cove during foul weather, spilling oil and phosphates and sparking fears of an environmental disaster involving a nearby fragile reef ecosystem.

Disaster was mostly averted, in part due a swift response by a number of local and federal agencies who helped cleanup both the ashore and on the water, but removal of the wreckage was slow to get going.  The M/V Tycoon’s owner, Singapore’s Tycoon Navigation SA, basically abandoned the ship altogether and forced the Australian Government to step in and foot the bill for her removal.  In May, a contract was finally awarded to Titan Maritime, the Australian-based arm of Crowely’s Titan Salvage, and once on scene crews took just eight weeks to remove 1600 tonnes of scrap metal from the rocky shores in an effort that was helped by favorable weather conditions over the past two months.

“As far as the islanders are concerned it was a very unobtrusive,” said John Richardson, commander of Christmas Island’s Volunteer Marine Rescue, of the salvage operation. “It was done quietly and efficiently, and if you look at the amount of stuff they took away, fairly quickly as well, we’re very happy with it.”

A dive survey of the site has confirmed only minimal damage to the marine environment and further monitoring of the area will continue.  Meanwhile an investigation into the incident by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau is focussing on the actions of Master and crew, as well as the port staff, in the moments leading up to mooring failure.

As for the owners at Tycoon Navigation, they should be receiving a bill to the tune of $8.2 million.

January 8, 2012

The M/V Tycoon is a Panamanian-flagged, 85 metre general cargo ship and had approximately 102 tonnes of intermediate fuel oil, 11,000 litres of lubricant oil, 32 tonnes of diesel oil and approximately 260 tonnes of phosphate onboard the vessel when she grounded.

January 9, 2012

Just a day against the rocky shores of Flying Fish Cove and the M/V Tycoon was already broken in two pieces.  Luckily all 15 crew members abandoned prior to her breaking up and were pulled to safety by the Royal Australian Navy.

July 26, 2012

The last of the 1600 tonnes of debris was hauled off Christmas Island on July 26, 2012.