Fishing trawler sinks in Wollongong Harbour

5:21pm: The 40-year-old fishing trawler has now been salvaged from the water.

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Illawarra duty commander Inspector Andrew Erlik suspected it may have been the vessels age that caused the incident – however investigations were still continuing.

2pm: The mooring of a sunken boat in Wollongong Harbour was its saving grace and stopped it from capsizing, firefighters have said.

Owners of neighbouring vessels alerted emergency services at 11.57am on Friday after the boat was seen taking on a large amount of water.

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Illawarra duty commander Inspector Andrew Erlik said a young woman had been living on the craft but was not the owner. He said the owner of the registered fishing trawler was in the process of being “traced”.

FRNSW, Hazmat, Roads and Maritime Services, Wollongong Harbour Authority and Wollongong police are on scene while further resources have been called in, he said.

“A crane is coming to lift the boat from the waterside,” Inspector Erlik said.

“We'll have some divers who will look at it – it's believed to have been taking on water for some time. We're waiting for our truck to boom it ... so when they raise the boat if there's any spillage it will be contained.”

Occupants of a neighbouring boat have been evacuated. Currently the sinking ship is not endangering any other vessels or people.

“At the moment it appears the boat is resting on the bottom of the harbour and the mooring are holding it in place,” Inspector Erlik said.

Exclusion zones have been set up both on land and in the water around the sunken vessel. The on-water exclusion zone is being managed by water police.

FRNSW Wollongong station officer Cameron Thompson said from witness accounts it was not believed the boat had been used for fishing activities recently.

He said the female occupant of the boat was not present at the time emergency services arrived, thought was now on scene.

1pm: A fishing trawler has sunk in Wollongong Harbour.

Emergency services were called to the harbour, off Endeavour Drive, just before noon on Friday.

A Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) spokeswoman said initial reports indicated the trawler had been “taking on water rapidly”.

Two FRNSW hazardous materials units from Shellharbour have arrived on the scene and will use booms to contain any oil or fuel spills associated with the sunken vessel.

The spokeswoman said the owner was not with the boat at the time of the incident and crews had contacted the harbourmaster. 

Police and representatives from Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) are also on the scene.

An RMS boat is collecting trawler debris from the water.

The Mercury understands the trawler has stopped sinking because it has reached the bottom of the harbour. 

Power to the vessel has been isolated.

It is understood the RMS will organise divers to assess the scene and a crane to pull the boat from the water.

More to come.

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