Oceanlinx has at last begun removing its rusting wave generator from the waters off the Port Kembla coal loader.
The company decommissioned the wave generator in 2009 but it has remained off the shoreline ever since.
In July this year Oceanlinx chairman Tibor Vertes said the company was expecting delivery of equipment to remove the barge the following month.
Mr Vertes said on Friday the company was still waiting for the equipment to be delivered but removal work had begun.
‘‘There has been some physical removal of the unit in the past few months,’’ Mr Vertes said.
‘‘The fibreglass, the cowling, that’s all been removed.
‘‘It’s a work in progress, we were waiting for equipment which we’re still waiting for. It’s on a container.’’
Mr Vertes said a contractor had been engaged to remove the wave generator, under the management of Oceanlinx.
‘‘It has had work done on it,’’ Mr Vertes said of the wave generator.
‘‘We’re trying to get rid of as much as possible from the unit to make it as light as possible to float it. It’s as simple as that.’’
Mr Vertes said the company was still working towards having the generator moved by the end of this year.
‘‘Well, we’re certainly hoping,’’ he said.
‘‘It doesn’t help us for that unit to be there and we all acknowledge that and there’s no argument about that.
‘‘We’re doing everything we can to remove it, within time constraints and weather conditions.
‘‘We’re not in the winter now, so hopefully it should be easier to continue the work.’’
He said the company had taken safety measures by placing warning signs on the structure but people kept removing them.
Mr Vertes said the items removed were ‘‘relatively easy to address’’.
‘‘And that will continue,’’ he said.
‘‘Basically all we want to have there is a shell when we get to the final stage,’’ he said.
‘‘That’s the critical part, to lift it off the sea bed and the sand. Engineers have been underneath, scuba divers, to see exactly how much sand is there.
‘‘We believe we can release the sand by certain technology, which we have developed ourselves.’’
At this stage, Mr Vertes said the company was focusing on lifting the structure off the sea bed and had yet to fully address where it would go after that point.
But he said it would not be transported overland.
‘‘We’re trying not to pull it over the sand, we’re trying to move it in the ocean,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re certainly not interested in dragging it through the sand. It would have to be taken apart piecemeal and put on trucks – that would be the worst situation.’’