MARINE pilots, hydrodynamic experts and tug masters combined their skills to ensure the first docking of the MV Rising Sun at Geraldton was successful.
Launched from the Japanese shipyards in 2006, Rising Sun is a 91,521 tonne deadweight carrier and its arrival in the early hours of Wednesday 14 March was the first of a series of trials to confirm if this new class of vessel can be a regular caller at the Western Australian port.
The vessel is 235metres long and 43metres in beam and is said to be able to carry between 10% and 15% more cargo than the previous Panamax vessel limit of 225metres x 32metres (which had been in place for many years) and the more recent limit of 235metres x 38metres.
The request to allow the new class of vessel to enter Geraldton Harbour was made last year by Karara Mining. This led to a project meeting in late November attended by Karara, hydrodynamic ship motion experts and the Mid West Port Authority’s (MWPA) marine team and engineers.
According to MWPA, the meeting set out a schedule for tank testing, port and channel modelling, the collection of environmental data and simulation trials.
Mid West Port’s marine pilot, Shannon Nicholson, said the live trial went without a hitch.
“I was joined in the ship’s bridge by another of our senior pilots, a hydrodynamic professor and a tug master from Svitzer who collectively oversaw the operation,” Mr Nicholson said.
“The handling of the vessel down the channel and in the harbour, was assisted by the three tugs stationed in Geraldton.
“The tug masters were all satisfied that tug capacities, as expected, were up to the job and also reported that from their perspective the pilotage went well.”
The MWPA is to continue to monitor the Dynamic Underwater Clearance, or the space from the seabed to the keel, by using a computer program with live environmental inputs.
Further trials, including various environmental conditions, are to take place before the new class of vessel is accepted as a standard vessel to visit Geraldton Port.