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Long-term solution proposed for Clinton Channel vessel interaction

3 July 2017

Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) will soon be submitting applications with the State and Federal Governments to progress its Clinton Vessel Interaction Project to ensure the safe and efficient passage of vessels through the Clinton Channel, adjacent to its RG Tanna Coal Terminal wharf in Gladstone.

As a result of the development of the Wiggins Island Coal Terminal there is increased Cape size vessel traffic passing the RG Tanna wharf facility.

GPC identified that vessel interaction forces can be an issue when large vessels pass the wharf and has worked with industry specialists and key stakeholders to investigate improvement options and select a preferred mitigation strategy.

GPC’s Chief Executive Officer, Peter O’Sullivan said the submission of applications for the project followed more than 12 months of detailed planning and investigations to explore several options to improve vessel interaction safety.

“Due to the current configuration of the Clinton Channel, vessels are required to pass within approximately 80 metres of those vessels berthed at our RG Tanna wharf,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“This means that displaced water from the passing vessel results in significant forces on the vessels at berth, posing a risk of vessels breaking mooring lines and moving off the RG Tanna wharf.

“To alleviate the current situation, both GPC and the Regional Harbour Master have implemented temporary processes to reduce these risks, however a permanent solution is required to ensure the safe and efficient passage of vessels through our harbour.”

The Clinton Vessel Interaction Project assessed several options to mitigate this issue and will lodge environmental applications with both the State and Federal Governments to widen the existing channel.

“Widening the Clinton Channel by approximately 100m will enable passing vessels to have greater separation distance and will mitigate the vessel interaction issue,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“The main alternative was to deepen the nearby Clinton Bypass channel which required almost three times the volume of dredging.

"By widening the existing channel we will significantly reduce the dredging volume and can also place the material into the existing approved Western Basin area.”

The project will not commence until all required approvals and conditions are in place with work expected to commence in the latter half of 2018.

The proposed project involves approximately 800,000m3 of dredging in the Clinton Channel.

If approved, the dredged material will be placed in the existing Western Basin Reclamation Area, creating strategic port land for potential future industrial use in the Port of Gladstone.

This reclamation process supports the State Government's Sustainable Ports Development Act and its commitment to the protection of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park under the Reef 2050 program.

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