“We have made an offshore support vessel, the Far Saracen, available and the vessel is now at Mallacoota and supporting response actions there,” an Esso spokesman said.
“We are preparing a second vessel, the Far Senator, to be available to mobilise to Mallacoota in the coming days.
“Two of Esso’s fleet of helicopters are also being made available to evacuate impacted community members from Mallacoota, as well as assist emergency services personnel in getting to those impacted.”
The Esso ships carried food and water for the town and stood ready to assist in whatever way possible, the spokesman said.
Water Police sent a boat with 1.6 tonnes of water into the town and were also preparing to send a barge from Paynesville, near Bairnsdale, and another boat with a MICA paramedic on board.
Police said a Border Force boat had also left for Mallacoota.
The barge “will have food and water and 30,000 litres of fuel,” Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said. “It will be making its way to Mallacoota. It will have supplies for about two weeks.”
A spokeswoman for the State Control Centre said a barge left Sydney on Wednesday to arrive in Mallacoota on Thursday to provide medical help to those who needed it. It has room for 25 patients on board.
She would not rule out other private companies being involved in the response to the bushfires along with Esso.
Navy vessels the HMAS Choules and the MV Sycamore are expected to arrive by Thursday.
HMAS Choules is an amphibious landing ship with a dock for helicopters that can evacuate 700 people while the MC Sycamore is a patrol vessel that can carry one helicopter.
Ambulance Victoria acting director of emergency management Justin Dunlop said paramedics and volunteer ambulance community officers (ACOs) had been in Mallacoota during the fire and would remain there.
“They’ve supported the community throughout the fire and continue to do so, despite some of them not knowing whether their houses have survived.
“The paramedics and ACOs are assessing people who remain in Mallacoota to determine if anyone needs to be medically evacuated.
“Two wilderness response paramedics were flown into Mallacoota last night to support local teams. A third wilderness response paramedic was brought in by boat today.
“Elsewhere two paramedics were flown into Orbost last night to assess medical needs and provide relief to local crews.”
Locals in Mallacoota estimated 60 homes had been lost in Tuesday morning’s blaze.
Ships, boats and aircraft sent to Mallacoota:
- Esso’s Far Saracen (arrived at Mallacoota on Wednesday morning with food and water. Will remain there to provide more support)
- Esso’s Far Senator (being prepared, might head to Mallacoota in “coming days”)
- Victoria Police barge (left from Paynesville on Wednesday afternoon with food and medical supplies)
- Victoria Police boat (departed Wednesday afternoon with MICA paramedic and medical supplies)
- Victoria Police boat (loaded with 1.6 tonnes of water, arrived on Wednesday)
- Medical barge from Sydney (Emergency vessel laden with medical supplies and 25 beds that will arrive on Thursday)
- NSW Police boat (provided water, arrived Tuesday night)
- HMAS Choules (left Sydney on Wednesday morning to arrive Thursday)
- MV Sycamore (will arrive on Thursday from Sydney)
- One Border Force vessel (to assist with emergency response, police said)
- Two Esso helicopters (able to take people from Mallacoota to Bairnsdale and vice versa)
- ADF’s MRH-90 Taipan helicopter (arrived Wednesday from Sale)
- Two ADF S-70A Black Hawk helicopters (arrived Wednesday from Sale)
- Two ADF CH-47 Chinook helicopters (arriving January 4 from Townsville)
- Two ADF C-27 Spartan aeroplanes (arriving January 2 from Ipswich, Queensland)
Anthony is a sports reporter at The Age.