CREATING a greater passing distance between cruising vessels and berthed ships is one of the key aims of the $80m Clinton Vessel Interaction Project.

Led by Gladstone Ports Corporation, the idea is to widen the Clinton Channel by about 100 metres and further develop port facility area at Fisherman’s Landing.

Ships currently leaving Wiggins Island Coal Terminal pass within 80 metres of berthed ships at the RG Tanna Coal Terminal, which can cause wash to potentially break mooring lines and damage ships.

Acting chief executive Craig Walker said the Clinton Vessel Interaction Project was due to be finished in the second half of 2020.

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“With a focus on zero harm, ensuring the safety of the Clinton Channel and everyone operating within it, is the driving force behind this investment,” Mr Walker said.

“The project will be delivered under stringent environmental guidelines.

“Environmental data from a range of parameters including water quality, light reaching sensitive receptors and fine sediments will be available from our website for the duration of the project.”

Mr Walker said a lot of work had been done to ensure the project met guidelines set out in the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan (Commonwealth of Australia 2015), so it was exciting to see another major milestone reached and work due to start.

Shipping within the port is expected to be unaffected while works are undertaken.

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the project would create around 37 local jobs.

“We need a solid pipeline of investment in Gladstone’s port to ensure it meets the needs of the larger, more modern ships that will want to call in here,” Mr Butcher said.

“This project is an important step in preparing the harbour for that, as will be the larger $760m Gatcombe and Golding Cutting Channel project, which is undergoing an environmental assessment at the moment.”

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