$ 2.2m Yasi re­pair bill for port py­lons

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - Bar­bara Lynch

THE cost of re­pair­ing dam­age to Townsville port sus­tained dur­ing Cy­clone Yasi is half the ini­tial es­ti­mated amount.

It will cost $ 2.2 m to fix at least three chan­nel mark­ers lead­ing into the port and nav­i­ga­tion aids.

Main Roads, Fish­eries and Marine In­fra­struc­ture Min­is­ter and Mem­ber for Thuringowa Craig Wal­lace sur­veyed the dam­age yes­ter­day and said it was good to see it first-hand.

Waves up to 9m high dam­aged the equip­ment and Mr Wal­lace said he fast-tracked the de­sign and ten­ders so t h e ma r k e r s wo u l d b e re­placed and re­in­stated by the end of next month.

‘‘ This is a pri­or­ity and we need new ones to with­stand higher waves than the last ones. They will also op­er­ate 24 hours a day when the pre­vi­ous ones were only at night,’’ Mr Wal­lace said.

They would have a longer bat­tery life and en­able bet­ter light­ing of the chan­nel.

‘‘ These were the strong­est winds and waves the port has ex­pe­ri­enced since Cy­clone Althea in 1971.’’

Mr Wal­lace said it was im­per­a­tive these spe­cialised pieces of nav­i­ga­tion equip­ment were put back in the ex­act spot they were be­fore Cy­clone Yasi hit.

‘‘ The lad­ders that were part of the nav­i­ga­tion aids have been twisted around like a piece of tin foil,’’ Mr Wal­lace said.

A M a r i t i m e S a f e t y Q u e e n s l a n d s p o k e s ma n said deep draft bulk car­ri­ers could not use the port at night un­til the sea lead nav­i­ga­tional aids were re­paired.

The two ‘‘ sea leads’’ py­lons were used to find the cen­tre of the chan­nel and with­out them, it made it dif­fi­cult, he said.

‘ ‘ I t ’ s c h a l l e n g i n g t o re­place these out at sea,’’ he said.

‘‘ These sea leads give the bulk car­ri­ers the best run at the chan­nel.

‘‘ The pi­lots are ex­pe­ri­enced with these move­ments but they do need those lights at night.’’

Mr Wal­lace said dur­ing yes­ter­day’s sur­vey of the port, he no­ticed the trees which were de­posited into the chan­nel from the cy­clone were cleared out and Can­ning­ton Port fa­cil­ity had ma­jor dam­age to their nav­i­ga­tional boys. STORM DAM­AGE: Mem­ber for Thuringowa Craig Wal­lace and Mar­itime Safety Queens­land area man­ager Stephen Knowles in­spect a nav­i­ga­tion py­lon

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