PORT Taranaki is implementing a modern dredge called the Albatros that will begin working next week to keep shipping channels clear. The Albatros, owned and operated by Dutch Dredging, will replace the port’s older dredge, Pelican.

Port Taranaki head of infrastructure Mark Webb said the older dredge served the port well for more than 30 years, but the Albatros, a trailing suction hopper dredge, will be more modern and efficient.

“It has better control and accuracy, is easier to operate, has a greater rate of uptake and discharge of sand, and greater in-situ storage, which means it doesn’t have to make drops as often,” he said.

The capabilities of the five-year-old Albatros shorten Port Taranaki’s first biennial maintenance dredging campaign from 12 weeks to eight weeks. By the end of the eight weeks, the dredge is projected to have removed more than 300,000 cubic metres of sand. The sand is then transported to consented drop grounds.

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Project manager Ludo Galliegue said the dredge is vital to the safe passage of vessels in and out of Port Taranaki because it maintains the draft.

“During the campaign, the dredge will be visible inside the harbour close to the main breakwater,” he said. “We urge recreational and commercial fisherman, kayakers and yachties to be mindful and keep clear.”

The Albatros will operate during the day from 6am to 6pm.

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