MID West Ports has completed its Berth 5/6 Crossed Lines Remediation Project at the Port of Geraldton.

The infrastructure improvement project is expected to help facilitate a projected increase in trade at the port.

Berths five and six abut each other on the western side of the port and, until recently, accessed bollards located on the abutting berth to moor vessels when alongside.

This configuration resulted in “crossed lines” which, according to MWPA, caused “confusing parameters” regarding bollard and deck capacities.

It also caused inefficiencies, complicated mooring solutions and safety risk exposure, the port said.

MWPA said its Port Mooring Optimisation Project identified the opportunity to mitigate the risks and improve operational efficiencies with the installation of four new 125T bollards, two on each berth, dedicated to mooring of vessels at their respective berth.

“The installation of these four new bollards will significantly reduce operational inefficiencies, provide clarity with regard to mooring plans and surge thresholds, and most importantly, reduce safety risks associated with the crossing of mooring lines,” MWPA chief executive officer Damian Tully said.

“We have projected a significant increase in throughput at the Port of Geraldton in the near future. To enable us to efficiently manage this increase it is imperative we optimise our operations where opportunities are identified.

“I am very pleased to see the Berth 5/6 Crossed Lines Remediation Project completed and I congratulate our workers involved in the project and the main contractor Midwest Diverse.”

The four new bollards are installed on a square 100-cubic-metre concrete block.

Seventeen additional piles were driven under it to ensure that the concrete block could withstand the loads applied by the mooring lines,

A capstan, which works as a winch for tying ship mooring ropes, was installed simultaneously behind the bollards to further improve safety and efficiencies.

The bollards and capstan have been commissioned and are now accessed by vessels coming alongside berths five and six.

Other projects

The Port Mooring Optimisation Project has also seen the installation of a smart bollard on Berth 6, four quick release hooks (QRH) on Berth 4 and additional load cells in the Berth 4 wharf and fenders.

The smart bollard monitors the load on ropes in real time, providing data which enables analysis of

maximum loads. This data allows assumptions on loads, bollards and the deck, determining the capacity of other mooring infrastructure on the berth.

The four QRHs installed on Berth 4 in 2023 were part of a broader research and development project at the port that involved mooring line load and deck monitoring.

MWPA said the project improved asset management decisions by using real-time wharf load monitoring information. It said the QRHs have also improved safety and efficiency with reduced manual handling.

During the Wharf 4 Strengthening and Rail Replacement project, the port installed additional load cells into the wharf and fenders.

These load cells measure the loads on and against the wharf deck, providing additional data sets on mooring load capacities.