RESIDENTS of the sleepy neighbourhood around Gore Bay in Sydney woke up to a cruise ship in their back garden on Wednesday morning (11 May).

Pacific Explorer arrived that morning to take on bunkers at Viva Energy’s Gore Bay Terminal.

A local resident told DCN he looked out his window Wednesday morning and was surprised to see such a ship at the terminal.

“I’m happy to see things like this here – with the Navy here too, [at HMAS Waterhen], it’s great that there’s a working port here,” he said.

A Port Authority of NSW spokesperson said Pacific Explorer was piloted by the port authority to Gore Bay to take on bunkers in the absence of a bunker barge in port.

“This unique manoeuvre had never been executed by a cruise ship before,” they said. “Our marine pilots trained with preparatory simulator testing ahead of the manoeuvre as part of regular training at the Australian Maritime College.”


The cruise ship arrived in Sydney on 18 April to great fanfare, as it was the first cruise ship to pass through Sydney Heads in more than two years.

Since then, the vessel has been spotted around Sydney Harbour tied up at the Overseas Passenger Terminal and the White Bay Cruise Terminal.

DCN understands the bunkering operation at Gore Bay is likely to be a one-off operation. A bunker barge is expected to become available in Sydney Harbour for an expected influx of cruise visits.

According to Viva Energy, the Gore Bay Terminal has been operating as a fuel import and storage facility since 1901.

Several fuel products are imported into the terminal, but only marine diesel and fuel oil are stored there.

This article has been updated to include comment from the Port Authority of New South Wales.