Essential maintenance dredging at the Port of Hay Point is scheduled to commence this weekend.
The works will be undertaken by specialist vessel the TSHD Brisbane, on behalf of North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) and the port’s terminal operators.
NQBP Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Fertin said the Port of Hay Point primarily exports metallurgical coal, a key resource in steel-making.
“With three priority ports in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, respect for the environment is critical to everything we do,” Mr Fertin said.
“A range of environmental controls have been put in place to minimise potential impacts on the marine environment.”
Mr Fertin said the public could keep up-to-date on the project via a real-time water quality dashboard available on our website.
“Throughout the maintenance dredging works, there will be real-time, publicly available monitoring of water quality to detect any potential impacts and allow an immediate response to any unpredicted changes to water quality.”
Mr Fertin said the maintenance dredging involves relocating sediment – natural material made up of sands, silt and clay - that has travelled along the coast and accumulated in shipping navigational areas.
The sediment will be relocated in the sea, 6km away from shipping operations. Relocated material will not be placed on any coral reefs.
Maintenance dredging ensures vessels can safely and reliably access ports and marinas, reducing the risk of accidents or grounding impacts.
It differs from capital dredging, which involves excavating previously undisturbed seabed to expand or create new shipping channels, berths or swing basins.
The maintenance dredging project will take about 40 days.
Maritime Safety Queensland has issued a Notice to Mariners with advice about restricted access zones to ensure safety during the operations.