Dredg­ing up divi­sion

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

THE com­man­ders of the USNS ships Charles E. Byrd and Charles Drew who are said to be “un­com­fort­able” about berthing at the Port of Townsville must be cut from dif­fer­ent cloth from their fore­bears.

Their 210m long Lewis and Clarke- class sup­ply ships, fit­ted with bow thrusters and as­sisted by tugs, are ba­bies com­pared with some of the reg­u­lar port users.

For in­stance our oft- seen HMAS Can­berra and Adelaide ( 230m) are in and out in a flash ( if their engines are func­tion­ing prop­erly, ahem!) and the mighty USS Boxer ( 257m) docked here for a high time in 2005 with no men­tion of chan­nel safety is­sues.

It makes me won­der whether the man­agers of the port are cyn­i­cally mis­us­ing a con­trived sit­u­a­tion to cre­ate a false sense of in­ad­e­quacy in the port at a crit­i­cal mo­ment in the devel­op­ment ap­proval process?

Re­mem­ber, the port ex­pan­sion project re­quires years of de­struc­tive dredg­ing and recla­ma­tion ( i. e. long term tur­bid­ity and sed­i­men­ta­tion of World Her­itage Cleve­land Bay) but also thou­sands of truck jour­neys through the streets of Townsville bring­ing up­wards of one mil­lion tonnes of rock for break­wa­ters and revet­ment walls for 150ha of re­claim.

And at the end of it, a 14 per cent in­crease in main­te­nance dredg­ing, all of which will be sea- dumped in Cleve­land Bay next to Magnetic Is­land and the GBR Marine Park. Af­ter back- to- back bleach­ing events and a 50 per cent de­cline in co­ral cover on the GBR, I won­der if our car­ing and cour- teous Amer­i­can al­lies have any idea how in­con­ve­nient and un­sus­tain­able their claimed ( or la­belled) dis­com­fort re­ally is? H. O. McCOLL,

Nelly Bay.

NO IS­SUES: The USS Boxer leaves Townsville Port. Pic­ture: EVAN MOR­GAN

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