The recent dismantling of a former Australian navy vessel at the Port Pirie wharf has opened up an entirely new use for the port with the potential to offer new employment for more than 30 staff.
The hulk, previously the HMAS Success, has been steadily stripped down since October, and site managers from local contractors McMahons Services say they have been delighted with the pioneering operation.
McMahons Northern SA Regional Manager Steve Badman says the decision to tender for the project was closely connected to the company’s continuing movement towards becoming a major metals recycler.
The vessel, weighing 8000 tonnes, had provided about 25 different metals which “went in all directions” over the course of the dismantling.
“Everything, ferrous, non-ferrous, all of it has been separated up and moved to different markets across the world, and each of those places will recycle this metal,” he says.
The project had employed more than 35 people to date, with roughly half of the jobs being filled by local people.
Mr Badman said the company would seek to engage more locals, and hoped that with anticipated improvements in training and skill-levels throughout the Port Pirie region that ideal would become a reality.
“We are very happy with the way this has gone throughout, it’s been the first of its kind for us and we’ve really learned a lot,” he said.
One of the personal highlights for Mr Badman was in the absence of complaints from local people in and around the Central Business District.
“We’ve really tried to minimise noise and other disruption… some people are asking if we’re still working on it because it’s going down under the sight-line as we get closer to finishing it,” he said.
The next stop for the former ship will be across Spencer Gulf at Whyalla, where what remains of the hull will be taken up on to a slipway for the final stages of the cutting processes.
While the date for towing the hull is yet to be confirmed he said the project was very much in its final part of the Port Pirie phase.
Mr Badman said McMahon Services and local employees were very keen to bid for any more decommissioned vessels over the coming years and were staying in very close contact with the Australian Department of Defence.