Salvage starts to refloat Amphibious

By Brayden May

THE mission to salvage the sunken Paddle Vessel Amphibious is underway.

Divers were contracted last Monday, before NSW Maritime crews arrived on site at the Port of Echuca on Friday.

But boat owner Tim Mills won’t be there to oversee any of the process.

“I’m obviously gut wrenched I can’t be there because I’m in South Australia, so me being stranded here is just an unfortunate consequence of coronavirus,” Tim said.

“It’s basically leave it to everyone else to sort out and once it’s raised and on the surface the insurance companies can look at it,” he said.

“I’ll try and salvage the engines as soon as they get out of the water and then we’ll start the restoration process.

“Depending on what has caused the sinking that would determine whether it requires slip work, but it would probably need to go on the slipway at some stage.

“Until then I’ll have to investigate and see if the slip on the Moama bank is capable of handling the weight of my boat.

“But it will be restored; one way or another.”

A spokesperson from Transport for NSW said that “the complex salvage of the historic paddle boat Amphibious — which sank in the Murray River on Sunday, May 10 — is now underway, with the vessel likely to be removed from the water early next week”.

“The paddle boat is submerged in about 1.4m of water and has been winched towards the bank. It has been moved upright with the use of airbags and remains intact,” they said.

“Transport for NSW is working with the specialist salvage company and Campaspe Shire Council to ensure the salvage is safely and properly managed, while monitoring for any pollution in the water as well as providing on-water traffic support.”

The PV Amphibious only made its long-awaited return to Echuca’s side of the Murray River last year. Tim brought the boat back to the twin towns in September, almost 143 years since it had last graced the Port of Echuca.

“It’s a beautiful town, Echuca… everyone seems friendly and very paddleboat-oriented,” Tim said at the time.

“We’d be happy to call Echuca home for a while.”