NEW control measures in response to COVID-19 will be implemented for the annual maintenance dredging at the Port of Weipa this year.
North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation CEO Nicolas Fertin said the dredge vessel TSHD Brisbane is due to begin work within the Port of Weipa from early May 2020.
“Across all our ports, NQBP is balancing our number one priority, the health and safety of people, with the criticality of our ports,” Mr Fertin said.
“In the same way we maintain roads and rail lines for freight transport, we need to look after our port infrastructure to keep trade flowing.
“Regular maintenance dredging ensures efficient, navigable shipping depths for our port users.
“Given the current environment, we have been working closely with Rio Tinto and other port users and stakeholders to align control measures to support safe and efficient operations.”
Mr Fertin said NQBP had developed a Project Health Management Plan to control risks associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of the measures will be the nightly closure of the commercial Evans Landing Wharf during the dredging program to maintain physical distancing with the Weipa community,” Mr Fertin said.
“The wharf will also need to be closed at times during the day so that project personnel, equipment and resources can be transferred onboard the project vessels.
“The plan also outlines social distancing and self-isolation measures for crew and other essential contractors required to travel to Weipa.”
Queensland Health, Maritime Safety Queensland, Weipa Town Authority and Rio Tinto have been provided with the Project Health Management Plan.
Mr Fertin reminded boaties to take extra care when on the water during the dredging works.
“The Brisbane and its support vessels have restricted manoeuvring capability. We urge people on the water to pay close attention to displayed warning flags and lights.”
NQBP has managed the annual maintenance dredging program at the Port of Weipa for more than 30 years. Dredging will also be completed at Amrun on behalf of Rio Tinto, with the whole program expected to take between four to six weeks.