Dredg­ing to keep port open to cruise ships

Broome Advertiser - - Front Page - Glenn Cord­ing­ley

Tens of thou­sands of cu­bic me­tres of ma­te­rial would need to re­moved from the ocean floor next year as part of a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar op­er­a­tion to give pas­sen­ger lin­ers alltide ac­cess to the Port of Broome.

The Kim­ber­ley Ports Au­thor­ity said cur­rent es­ti­mates in­di­cated about 70,000cum would need to be dredged from the chan­nel, along with the pos­si­bil­ity of a fur­ther 15,000cum ad­ja­cent to and north of the wharf.

Car­ni­val Aus­tralia pulled its P&O ships from WA for the up­com­ing sea­son be­cause of prob­lems at some re­gional ports.

A $7 mil­lion com­mit­ment by the Mc­Gowan Govern­ment to fix is­sues at the Port of Broome means the op­er­a­tor will now re­turn its lin­ers to WA and make Fre­man­tle the home port of the Sun Princess from late next year.

The dredg­ing would be car­ried out next year in readi­ness for the 2019 cruise sea­son.

Kim­ber­ley Ports Au­thor­ity chief ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Schel­lack said Car­ni­val Aus­tralia had pre­vi­ously stated it would like to ac­cess the Port of Broome wharf for longer pe­ri­ods and out­side of cur­rent tidal lim­its.

“Chan­nel work in­ves­ti­ga­tions are in the early stages and con­sul­tants BMT JFA have pro­vided a scope of works and listed the fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies re­quired be­fore the ex­tent of works can be fully iden­ti­fied,” he said.

Mr Schel­lack said en­vi­ron­men-

tal stud­ies had be­gun, with the lodg­ing of a sam­pling anal­y­sis plan with the Fed­eral Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and En­ergy for re­view and ap­proval.

“Sed­i­ment sam­ples are to be com­pleted in late October and will then un­dergo lab­o­ra­tory test­ing to en­sure there are no con­tam­i­nants in the dredge ma­te­rial,” he said.

“A small jack-up barge will be utilised in Novem­ber to com­plete the geo­phys­i­cal sur­vey by drilling bore­holes to de­ter­mine the prop­er­ties of the dredge ma­te­rial.

“To com­plete the de­tailed chan­nel de­sign, data col­lec­tors will be de­ployed in the chan­nel to de­ter­mine real-time tidal and wave data.”

Fi­nal fea­si­bil­ity re­ports may need to be pro­vided to both Fed­eral and State govern­ment agen­cies for ap­proval.

A sub­se­quent de­tailed chan­nel de­sign would en­able the project to pro­ceed.

Mr Schel­lack said it was most likely that a cut­ter suc­tion dredge would be able to com­plete the works.

If sea dump­ing was deemed ap­pro­pri­ate, the KPA would need a per­mit to place spoil in the deeper parts of the ex­ist­ing chan­nel near the dredg­ing site to “min­imise dis­tur­bance”.

“As the project pro­ceeds and more ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion is known, KPA will un­der­take broad stake­holder con­sul­ta­tion,” Mr Schel­lack said.

Act­ing Shire of Broome pres­i­dent Harold Tracey said cruise ships were a sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tor to the lo­cal econ­omy that pro­vided ben­e­fits across the com­mu­nity.

He said the town had a bright fu­ture with cruise ships and the im­prove­ments to port ac­cess would com­bine with coun­cil projects to im­prove the ex­pe­ri­ence for pas­sen­gers, such as the pend­ing $12 mil­lion re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of Chi­na­town, in­clud­ing a new tourist rest fa­cil­ity, coach park­ing to wel­come vis­i­tors, and fa­cil­i­ties for markets and other at­trac­tions.

Pic­ture: Glenn Cord­ing­ley

Ocean liner the Sun Princess docked in Broome, giv­ing hun­dreds of pas­sen­gers a chance to visit the town.

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