The trawler that went aground off Cronulla on Tuesday was successfully freed by salvage crews at high tide early this morning.
Salvagers had to pump 10 tonnes of water from a fish storage tank before the Challenge was light enough to dislodge without damage. A modest swell early this morning Thursday helped remove the vessel about 4:30am, earlier than had been expected.
Sydney Ports harbourmaster Philip Holliday dismissed criticism that he failed to get the ship off the rocks earlier. “There is always pressure to do things quickly, but I was always focused on doing things right,” he said.
“I wanted to ensure no pollution, no damage and no injuries, and that’s ultimately what we achieved.”
No fuel had leaked and the Challenge’s hull was not damaged during the refloat. The vessel has has been towed back to Sydney Harbour, while Roads and Maritime Services NSW continues to investigate why it ran aground. – Story and photo by Aleysha Tombleson