PORT of Devonport reopened to commercial shipping on Sunday (16 October) after port operations were suspended due to severe weather.

TasPorts had halted shipping operations on Thursday (13 October) due to the risk of flooding in the Mersey River catchment zone.

TasPorts chief operating officer Stephen Casey said the Port of Devonport has now received approval from the Harbour Master to affect the return of commercial shipping.

He said operations would return in a way that balances the urgency for reopening critical supply chains and passenger access with the need to ensure the safety of port users, vessels and port infrastructure.

“The enactment of our recovery plan, which has included confirmation of channel marker condition, repair of current profiler, and the removal of large amounts of visible debris (including trees) has prepared the Port of Devonport to the point where we can safely manage the passage of vessels,” Mr Casey said.

He said the decision was based on the results of hydrographic surveys on Sunday morning.

“As a result, we are confident major obstacles have been removed from the shipping channel which means TasPorts can safely facilitate vessel movement.”

SeaRoad’s Liekut was scheduled to commence arrival movement into the port from 1400 on Sunday, and further work at the Spirit of Tasmania’s berth at 1 East was scheduled for that same afternoon.

All being clear, Spirit of Tasmania was expected to commence arrival from 1600 Sunday afternoon.

Mr Casey said Liekut and Spirit of Tasmania were required to depart on high tides under the environmental conditions.

“TasPorts will continue to monitor the port through hydrographic surveying,” he said.

A recovery operation on Saturday 15 October cleared the port of significant debris and recreational vessels that broke from moorings during the peak of the flood.

Specialist equipment was deployed in the port to remove obstructions including a significant one on the seabed in the middle of the shipping channel.

As of Sunday afternoon, no further flooding was expected in the Mersey River catchment and other ports reportedly remained open to shipping.