MARITIME Safety Queensland has reported obstructions in shipping channels and damage to port infrastructure in Far North Queensland.

Several ports closed last week when ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper and subsequent flooding wreaked havoc in the state’s north, including at Cairns Airport, which caused problems for freight flights and local marine pilots.

And the Port of Cairns remains open, but surveys have discovered obstructions in the channel, affecting the declared depth.

“Due to these obstructions and excessive river current caused by floods, the port remains open to vessels 50m and less.” Maritime Safety Queensland general manager Kell Dillon told DCN on 19 December.

“Vessels of more than 50m in length are suspended from operating in the Port without permission from the MSQ regional harbour master.”

Mr Dillon said some navigation buoys had been displaced due to strong winds and currents, which were due to be re rectified on Thursday, but the channel remains navigable.

He said Port Douglas Port has now re-opened following inspections to the channel going into the port.

“[The regional harbour master] and Ports North will be prioritising vessels in accordance with the local conditions and port risk profile.

“Many boat ramps appear to have sustained damage – inspections are planned in the Cairns local area on Wednesday, weather and safety permitting.”

Mr Dillon said MSQ is contacting vessels and operators planning to carry out Cairns-Port Douglas essential cargo and passenger services from Cairns to Douglas Shire.

He noted several reef tourism fleet operators were running a service from Port Douglas and Cairns for Ergon and stranded locals on Tuesday 19 December.

Cairns Airport was operational by Tuesday morning, but airlines were determining their own operations and schedules.