About seven years since the South Australian Transport Department said it did not want a wrecked wave generator left in Carrickalinga’s “beautiful bay”, works have finally begun to partially remove the 3,000-tonne structure.

Key points:

  • Works have begun to remove the Oceanlinx generator seven years after it partially sunk
  • The top section of the structure will be removed to leave an artificial reef beneath the surface
  • The government says full removal of the generator would cost an extra $6.5 million

The $7 million Oceanlinx generator has been rusting in waters one-and-a-half kilometres offshore since March 2014 where it sank following a failed attempt to tow it from Port Adelaide to Port McDonnell.

Despite the former Labor government promising it would be removed within a year, lengthy delays blamed on court proceedings ensued after Oceanlinx — which previously had a generator sink at Port Kembla in NSW — went into receivership.

A department spokesperson at the time told residents said it would help Oceanlinx’ receiver salvage the structure at Carrickalinga and “get a good outcome”.

“We also don’t want the community to be left with a massive structure like that in their beautiful bay,” the spokesperson said in April 2014.

Former Transport minister Stephan Knoll said divers found the structure underwater to be different to drawings.(

Supplied: DPTI


But nothing happened and, in 2018, the newly elected Liberal government announced plans to turn the wreck into an artificial reef by removing the top section and leaving 2,500 tonnes of concrete and reinforced steel below the surface.

Despite promises by former SA transport minister Stephan Knoll in 2019 that works would begin the following year, it was again delayed in April 2020 after surveying divers found the submerged structure “not as the drawings suggested it was”.

Mr Knoll said at the time the company had to “rethink their strategy” but, because it was autumn and winter was approaching, it would again be delayed until March this year.

The department has since blamed the delay in 2020 on “concerns associated with working in confined spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to make use of the more favourable weather conditions in March/April”.

Another Oceanlinx generator sank off NSW’s Port Kembla during rough seas in 2010.(

Supplied: Adam McLean/Illawarra Mercury


Works underway

Carrickalinga Ratepayers Association president Kim Baker said marine craft were finally at the site doing what appeared to be “dismantling work” of the top section.

But he said the works to remove “one twelfth” of the structure did not go far enough and the community wanted it removed in its entirety.

The generator was towed to shallow water off Carrickalinga after it started listing on its journey.(

ABC News


“All that will change is the white structure at the top will go and there’ll be a buoy in its place,” Mr Baker told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“The Liberal Government has said it’s a win-win for the community, but the irony of that statement is the government has not engaged with the community and refused every request on our part to do so.

The current Transport Minister Corey Wingard said in February that the government’s approach represented “value for money” because full removal of the generator would cost an extra $6.5 million.

“It was important that we came up with a solution that benefits the community while also protecting the thriving artificial reef that has already been established on the generator below the waterline,” he said.

The works are being undertaken by McMahon Services and are expected to be completed in late May, depending on the weather.