Dredg­ing opens navy doors

Broome Advertiser - - News - Robert Dougherty

The Port of Broome has wel­comed a State Govern­ment in­vi­ta­tion for the US Navy to use the Kim­ber­ley town as a north­ern Aus­tralian hub in the wake of a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar dredg­ing pro­gram that will give ships all-tide ac­cess.

Pre­mier Mark McGowan re­cently an­nounced $7 mil­lion in dredg­ing works to re­move ob­sta­cles in the port’s ap­proach chan­nel to im­prove ac­cess by big­ger ves­sels and se­cure more cruise ship vis­its.

WA De­fence Is­sues Min­is­ter Paul Pa­palia said he “rolled out the wel­come mat” dur­ing dis­cus­sions with high-level US of­fi­cials on the side­lines of the Aus­tralian Amer­i­can Lead­er­ship Dia­logue in Honolulu.

Kim­ber­ley Ports Au­thor­ity chief ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Schel­lack said the project, once ap­proved and com­pleted, would pro­vide a safe berth for friendly navies or large ship­ping.

“Dredg­ing will open the door for the navy, what this chan­nel op­ti­mis­ing will do is en­able ves­sels to come and go at any tide,” he said.

“They (Royal Aus­tralian Navy) come here reg­u­larly — (how­ever) for the de­fence ves­sels in par­tic­u­lar they would not come to port, if they could not get out at a mo­ment’s no­tice.

“It will en­able the Amer­i­can and In­done­sian navy to come in for rest and re­lax­ation when they are in the area — any­one that’s out there that’s friendly to Aus­tralia and needs a good berth for ves­sels.”

The port has a his­tory of sup­port­ing Aus­tralian naval ves­sels with 51 dock­ing since 2014, in­clud­ing 17 last fi­nan­cial year.

Shire of Broome pres­i­dent Harold Tracey said that the US Navy us­ing the Broome Port was not some­thing that had been con­sid­ered by the coun­cil, but it could po­ten­tially bring ad­di­tional ac­tiv­ity to Broome and that any dis­cus­sion around this would be wel­come.

Mr Schel­lack said the chan­nel up­grade was in a race against time be­fore two Car­ni­val Aus­tralia cruise ships were sched­uled to ar­rive in Oc­to­ber next year.

“It’s quite a big process to en­sure we are do­ing the chan­nel in a re­spon­si­ble way,” he said.

“Af­ter ap­provals, bring­ing in the dredg­ing equip­ment will be about four to five days for a very small re­moval of the rock.”

Pic­ture: Glenn Cord­ing­ley

Kim­ber­ley Ports chief Kevin Schel­lack.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.