The Oceanlinx barge off the coast of Port Kembla has suffered considerable damage from the weekend’s storms.
The barge appears to be listing further backwards than it was just a month ago.
Also a large white shipping container that was on the southern side of the structure is no longer visible.
It is likely that the structure has fallen into the water.
A source who once worked for Oceanlinx said damage to the structure has been exacerbated by previous salvage work that cut some of the support beams in an attempt to remove the barge.
The wave generator is now in the hands of Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), after the company went into receivership in 2014.
“Severe weather last weekend impacted some sections of the Oceanlinx structure and Roads and Maritime Services has arranged for an aerial drone and a remote operated underwater vehicle to inspect it this weekend, weather permitting,” a spokesman for RMS said.
Oceanlinx went bust in 2014, owing secured creditors $7 million and investors a further $3 million.
Receivers KordaMentha said there was “insufficient resources to move either unit”.
From that point RMS bore responsibility for removing the barge.
In December 2014 RMS called for expressions of interest to remove it, receiving a response from 13 firms – four of whom were from the Illawarra.
From there RMS compiled a shortlist of five who were invited to tender.
The government department is now in the process of choosing a tender, with the barge to be removed by the end of the year.
“Roads and Maritime is continuing to prioritise the full removal and will incorporate any additional work required after the post storm assessment,” the spokesman said.
The story of the Oceanlinx barge has been a drawn-out saga.
It started in 2006, when the company installed the wave generator in waters off the Port Kembla coal loader.
In late 2009 the wave generator was decommissioned as Oceanlinx focused on the Southern Ocean
After that point, it sat there until December 2011 when Oceanlinx employed a contractor to remove the wave generator.
That contractor was replaced six months later but the plant still wasn’t removed.
In 2013 RMS threatened to sue Oceanlinx over its failure to remove the generator.
Once Oceanlinx agreed to co-operate, the action was dropped.
But still nothing happened. And then Oceanlinx went into receivership.