Dredging operations at Australia’s deep-water global gateway have received a significant boost with the launch of Port of Newcastle’s new multipurpose sweeper vessel, Lydia.
The bed levelling vessel will work in tandem with the Port’s hydrographic survey team and David Allan dredger to provide safe, deep-water access to the port.
Port of Newcastle CEO, Craig Carmody said the Lydia will enhance the overall efficiency of current dredging operations, while improving post-flood recovery efforts.
“As the busiest port on Australia’s east coast with more than 4,600 ship movements annually and a gateway for trade worth around $36 billion to the national economy, maintaining safe access is crucial to the Port’s operation and so the addition of a multipurpose sweeper to compliment the work that is already being done by our survey and dredging team is an important investment for the Port,” Craig said.
“The Lydia will not only improve day-to-day efficiency of our maintenance dredging, but it will play an important role in flood events like the one experienced recently by limiting the amount of sediment that can accumulate on the channel floor.
“This capability, along with a rapid and pre-emptive response, will reduce the recovery time and impact on shipping movements within the port.”
The Lydia is fitted with a nine-meter, 20 tonne sweeping bar, which is attached by hydraulically operated cables and is designed to level out the channel by pushing material from shallow to deeper areas in sections where dredging has occurred.
The bar can be raised or lowered to the required depth and during flood events can be used to churn-up sediment to target areas most prone to silt built-up.
Executive Manager Marine Operations, Glen Hayward said the vessel arrived in Newcastle late last year and has been retrofitted to improve safety, reliability, and operational capabilities.
“Safety is our top priority, so we’ve undertaken an extensive program of works to ensure the vessel meets strict standards, while installing CCTV and additional monitoring systems in the engine room to improve crew safety and the overall operation of the sweeper when out on the water,” Glen said.
“It’s been a huge team effort, so I want to congratulate everyone involved in reaching this important milestone.”
The Lydia will be based at Dyke Point and operate five days per week during an initial six-month trial phase.
IMAGE | New sweeper, Lydia, joins Newcastle fleet
Port of Newcastle is a major Australian trade gateway handling 4,600 ship movements and 166 million tonnes of cargo each year. Its annual trade worth more than $29 billion to the New South Wales economy, enabling businesses across the state to successfully compete in international markets.
With a deepwater shipping channel operating at 50% of its capacity, significant port land available and enviable access to national rail and road infrastructure, Port of Newcastle is positioned to further underpin the prosperity of the Hunter, NSW and Australia.
As custodians of the region’s critical asset, Port of Newcastle is diversifying its trade as it strives to create a safe, sustainable and environmentally and socially responsible Port that realises its potential.