PortandTerminal.com, January 2, 2020
4,000 people remain trapped by the fires on Mallacoota beach. Yesterday an ESSO offshore supply tug arrived on the scene to render assistance. Today, two Australian naval ships arrived. Evacuation begins Friday morning local time.
MALLACOOTA, AUSTRALIA – Two Australian navy vessels, HMAS Choules and MV Sycamore, arrived this morning at Mallacoota beach. They will begin the evacuation process for the 4,000 people trapped by bushfires on Friday.
HMAS Choules, which has the capacity to carry 700 troops, arrived off the coast on Thursday morning from Sydney.
It’s anticipated the evacuations will begin at 7 am on Friday, beginning with up to 800 people, and there may be “multiple trips”, Australian Premier Daniel Andrews said today in a briefing.
The journey to the closest port will take 16 to 17 hours and the boat will return for a “second load” if more than 1,000 people register as evacuees, the Royal Australian Navy has advised.
“HMAS Choules and MV Sycamore (a multi-role aviation training vessel contracted by the Navy) will begin relief operations in Mallacoota this morning, including supporting the relocation of vulnerable and high-priority people to Westernport,” the Australian Defence Force said in a statement on Thursday.
“We won’t be able to get everyone out in one go but we are working as hard as we can with our colleagues from the defence force to extricate those that can be extricated,” he said.
Meanwhile, Scott Spencer, one of the many trapped by the bushfires has just released the following video of the current scene on Mallacoota Beach.
Yesterday at a packed town hall meeting at Mallacoota residents were instructed to prepare for evacuation on the HMAS Choules. While the evacuations are not compulsory, they are forcing hard decisions amongst many families whether they should abandon their homes or stay. Many were scene sobbing and hugging as they try to decide what to do.
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