Weipa and Amrun dredging (2020)

Project management
North Queensland Bulk Ports

What Swash did

  • Swash was engaged to be North Queensland Bulk Ports’s (NQBP) sole dredging representative onsite at Weipa during this dredging program. There were 23 project personnel onsite and three project vessels, the TSHD Brisbane, Pacific Conquest bed-leveller and QG Norfolk survey vessel. Dredging activities occurred over 24 days and surveying over 40 days.
  • Swash managed covid-management protocols onsite which included:
    • Development of signed Biosecurity Plan and Covid management plans
    • Relevant Queensland border and biosecurity zone permits
    • Daily temperature checks of all personnel
    • Restriction of personnel movement between port office and accommodation
    • Charter flight approvals
    • Separation of crew during crew change days
    • Other covid protocols such as masks, personal hygiene, deep cleaning
  • Swash also provided dredging and environmental supervision of daily activities including:
    • Daily pre-start meetings
    • Stakeholder engagement
    • Ongoing dredging and survey analysis
    • Daily, weekly and close-out reporting
    • Cost and schedule control
    • Environmental monitoring, auditing and compliance
    • Regional Harbour Master sign off for dredged/levelled areas
  • The greater project team (NQBP, RTA Weipa, Maritime Safety Queensland, Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd and Swash) ensured successful delivery of this essential maintenance dredging service during this very difficult and evolving covid-19 pandemic period.

About the project

NQBP undertakes annual maintenance dredging at the Port of Weipa and also for the Port of Amrun on behalf of Rio Tinto.

However, on 25 January 2020 Australia recorded its first case of Covid-19, and the period of March and early April 2020 was a dynamic time for this project, in terms of understanding whether the project would be allowed to proceed. This was due to the initial uncertainty regarding the state and Commonwealth’s response to the global pandemic.

Legislative changes arising from the pandemic included the introduction of Queensland border closures and access restrictions to remote communities, with Weipa being declared a ‘biosecurity area’.

This led to NQBP postponing all non-essential visits, meetings and workshops in Weipa. However, the 2020 Weipa maintenance dredging was deemed an ‘essential service’ by NQBP, Rio Tinto Weipa, Maritime Safety Queensland, Weipa Town Authority and Queensland Health.  As a result, the maintenance dredging program was allowed to proceed following the introduction of strict protocols.

Dredging volume

The Weipa and Amrun 2020 dredging project had a dredging volume of 350,000 m3.

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