28 Mar 2017

NORTH Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) said the Ports of Abbot Point, Hay Point and Mackay remain closed today as severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie lashes the North Queensland coast.

NQBP Chief Executive Officer Steve Lewis said the corporation’s Whitsunday ports have all been experiencing large swells, high winds and heavy rains.

“Like other north Queenslanders, we have been feeling the full impact if TC Debbie throughout the day,” Mr Lewis said.

“The slow moving system will no doubt have had some impact on our assets, but it has not been possible to safely carry out any inspections given the persistent extreme weather conditions in the region.

“However the port’s emergency response team is on standby to carry out landside inspections of infrastructure such as the Southern Breakwater at the Port of Mackay as soon as possible in the morning.

Mr Lewis said NQBP is working closely with port partners and emergency services to secure the port and begin planning for the resumption of safe port operations.

“In addition to landside inspections, a survey of seabed assets such as navigational channels and berth pockets must be carried out to the satisfaction of the Harbour Master and our own expert marine pilots before ports can re-open for shipping.”

Mr Lewis said safety continued to be the port corporation’s top priority in responding to the extreme weather event.

“I would like to remind the community to stay off the Southern Breakwater (the rockwall) at the Port of Mackay, as well as other areas near the Ports which are currently restricted,” Mr Lewis said.

“Unbelievably, we have reports that some people are trying to access the Southern Breakwater even during today’s extreme weather.

“This is simply not in the interests of people’s own safety, or that of emergency service personnel.”

Further updates will be provided through the NQBP social media channels as it becomes available.


North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation contact:
Fiona Cunningham | Senior Advisor Corporate Communications
07 3011 7915 | fcunningham@nqbp.com.au