Weipa maintenance dredging 2019

TSHD Oranje

I was privileged to spend a few weeks up in the western cape of Queensland recently, overseeing North Queensland Bulk Ports’ (NQBP) annual maintenance dredging program, which this year required the dredging and relocation of more than 2.4 million cubic metres of sediment.

Onsite project management

Onsite project management is one of the most popular services I offer my clients, and with a remote location like Weipa, it becomes invaluable. The regular challenges involved in dredging are magnified when you factor in a port that’s 800km NNW of Cairns!

Environmental monitoring vessels had to be trucked up the east coast and then put on a barge and shipped round the tip. Port operations and exports crucial to Australia’s economy needed to continue.

However, it’s hard to have one of your regular team offsite and away from their desk for such a long period, so that’s where I come in.

Expert planning many months (or more!) ahead of time, combined with on-the-ground supervision, can help ensure you run an environmentally compliant, safe and successful dredging program.

A civil engineer by trade, who has spent more than 17 years working in the port and water industries, I have the expertise and experience to bring all the different parties together.

Extra challenges

This time round in Weipa, we had a few extra challenges to contend with:

  • More extensive dredging than usual, thanks to three cyclones and a large monsoonal event
  • These extreme weather events had contributed to an increase in siltation in the shipping channels
  • This meant the dredging program had to run for longer
  • It also meant we had to use two dredge vessels
  • Additional environmental monitoring including real-time water quality loggers, visual dashboard, seagrass surveys, benthic infauna surveys and satellite derived turbidity imagery were employed.

NQBP typically employs the TSHD Brisbane for its Weipa maintenance dredging, a 2,900m3 vessel. This year, we also had the TSHD Oranje. At 16,000m3 this vessel is an entirely different ball game and oversight of dredge cycles, volumes and environmental compliance was crucial.

So I suffered the hardships of west coast sunsets for a few weeks this June and July, ultimately helping NQBP to achieve a successful and incident-free maintenance dredging program for 2019.

’Course, local Weipa residents were also on hand to keep a close eye on operations!

Find out how Swash can help

If you’d like to chat about how Swash could assist with your next dredging project and planning, reach out for a chat.



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