Campaspe Shire Council has received an independent engineering report detailing works required on the Moama Slipway.
Mayor, Cr Adrian Weston said Council requested the report, following an incident on the slipway earlier this year. The slipway is privately operated, on NSW Crown lands.
“The PS Pevensey was on the slip for its scheduled servicing. On re-launching, one of the four trolleys came off the rails, leaving the 140 tonne paddlesteamer unsupported in its heaviest section,” Cr Weston said.
“The critical incident was subsequently reported to the NSW Crown lands as the landowner.”
The report, received this week, recommends repairs are needed in a timely manner and concludes the design of the 110 year old structure is suitable for slipping vessels up to 140 tonne.
The PS Pevensey was due to be slipped on 30 September for maintenance works identified through the recent slipping. Works were not completed at the time of slipping as materials were required and the slipway was booked for the next vessel.
“To ensure the safety of our staff, contractors and paddlesteamer fleet, we are not able slip vessels or complete the maintenance works on the PS Pevensey and get her back into commercial service until slipway maintenance works are done,” the Mayor added.
The Moama Slipway is the only one suitable for larger vessels within approximately 310 river kilometres. All commercial paddlesteamers and houseboats are required to have an ‘out of the water’ survey conducted by Roads and Maritime Services twice every five years.
“Echuca’s paddlesteamers are up to 100 plus years old and their ongoing maintenance and preservation are paramount to the tourism experience for Echuca. Paddlesteamers are a major tourism drawcard and it is critical to have them available for the tourism market,” Cr Weston said.
“Discussions are now a priority with the slipway operator and once a way forward has been agreed to, the community will be advised.”
Echuca Paddlesteamers will continue to operate using the PS Alexander Arbuthnot. The PS Pevensey will remain out of service until her maintenance works can be completed and a Certificate of Operation is issued by Roads and Maritime Services.