On February 21, Club Marine finalised the majority of its recovery operations of boats damaged and destroyed by Cyclone Yasi. Recovery efforts are drawing to a close just two weeks after they began, thanks to the swift response by Club Marine’s experienced marine assessors and salvage operators. As the recovery phase of Club Marine’s response concludes, the focus now shifts to expediting claims and fast-tracking the repair of affected boats.
Club Marine’s recovery efforts began on Sunday, February 6 and were focussed in Port Hinchinbrook, Qld, the area most affected by the cyclone. Led by Club Marine’s National Claims Manager, Phil Johnson, the recovery team set up operations as soon as they could after the storm had passed.
Club Marine CEO, Greg Fisher credited the company’s Event Response Plan as the major factor behind the company’s timely response to the storm. “Even before Cyclone Yasi reached landfall in Northern Queensland, Club Marine’s Event Response Team was coping with the fall-out of the storm,” he said. “Experienced teams of marine assessors, salvage crews, crane operators and diving companies in Queensland were contacted and were standing by, while at Club Marine headquarters in Melbourne, additional claims officers were brought in to handle the extra volume of calls.”
According to Phil Johnson, his team was dealing with a scale of destruction few had seen before.
“It was easily the biggest single disaster I’ve encountered in terms of total boats destroyed and damaged,” he said. “The sheer scale of the damage and the huge pile of boats washed up on top of each other was something I’ve never seen before. We knew we had our work cut out for us as soon as we arrived at the scene.”
The recovery team’s arrival in Port Hinchinbrook preceded the arrival of the majority of the disaster relief workers. Immediately, the team began the delicate work of extricating the damaged boats piled on top of each other in an enormous game of pick-up sticks. As the boats were removed, on-site assessments were conducted, ensuring that those which received light damage were immediately repaired and returned to the water, while boats that were more severely damaged were transferred to repair facilities locally or moved to shipwrights in Cairns or Townsville.
Final numbers are not in yet, but even now the sums associated with this storm are staggering. Across the state of Queensland, Club Marine has a total of 126 claims reported, including 60 boats in Port Hinchinbrook alone. At least 13 boats were completely destroyed. Early estimates are that Club Marine will pay a total of $6.5 million to Club Marine Members affected by the storm.
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