Club Marine assesses Cyclone Yasi damage

Massive salvage operation underway in Port Hinchinbrook

Club Marine assesses Cyclone Yasi damage
Club Marine assesses Cyclone Yasi damage

Boat insurer Club Marine has established an Event Response Team to assist policy holders affected by Cyclone Yasi.

A Club Marine spokesman said Port Hinchinbrook Marina, at Cardwell, sustained severe damage, with some 70 pleasure and commercial boats cast adrift and strewn along the shoreline.

Cyclone Yasi wreaked the most devastation when its eye crossed the Queensland coast south of Cairns early Thursday morning taking in the communities of Mission Beach, Innisfail, Tully and Cardwell.

Early photos of Port Hinchinbrook Marina show boats of all descriptions, from 7m to 18m, piled on top of each other and scattered throughout the area in what will be a massive salvage operation.

"Our assessors are there now," said Nicholas Scofield from Club Marine. "It’s very early in the piece, but we are collating numbers and should have some idea of the extent of the damage late today."

Club Marine said its national claims manager Phil Johnson and Qld state manager Brett Edmonds are leading its response team. They will be assessing damaged boats as well as leading the salvage operation and evaluating the claims of Club Marine members.

Johnson said all insurance companies involved at Port Hinchinbrook Marina are working together, in what is the worst cyclone damage he has seen in 32 years with Club Marine.

"Club Marine has the lion share of the pleasureboats at Hinchinbrook, and our parent company Allianz insures the marina itself, so we are working with and leading the other commercial insurers, such as CGU, Vero, and Associated Marine," said Johnson.

"The problem at Port Hinchinbrook was the storm surge. The marina is a floating one and it literally floated off the piles... most of the boats are still attached to marina pontoons," he said.

Club Marine said it has contracted teams of experienced assessors from Qld and NSW, who commenced information gathering as soon as the storm passed. Club Marine says it has also consulted with local crane operators, a barge, salvage teams and diving companies to begin the clean-up, however, roads are still closed into Port Hinchinbrook Marina and are unlikely to reopen until Sunday.

Meanwhile, Club Marine says it has bolstered its resources to process and evaluate claims as quickly as possible in its National Claims Hub in Melbourne. Its claims officers will be taking calls, prioritising claims and relaying the information to the Event Response Team in Queensland.

Affected Club Marine Members are urged to phone Club Marine to file a claim, on 1300 00 2582 (CLUB).

Given the magnitude of the storm event, Club Marine said it also urges all its members to heed the instructions of the local, state and federal government emergency agencies. - John Panozzo

Photos: Damaged yachts, pleasure craft and tourist vessels are left in a pile after being slammed against the houses and jetties at Port Hinchinbrook Marina after Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Yasi hit Northern Queensland. (Photo Rob Maccoll © Newspix).

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