CentrePort is undertaking work to remove a build-up of sand in Wellington Harbour to ensure shipping has sufficient depth to operate, improving safety and efficiency.
CentrePort General Manager Logistics Mark Thompson says ridges of sand have built up over several years in two areas of the shipping channels in the entrance to the harbour and need to be removed to improve the safe and efficient movement of vessels.
“The build-up has been caused by propeller wash in two areas located in stretch of water between Pencarrow Head and Seatoun which means deep draft ships are having to deviate from the usual entry and exit routes.
“Removing the sand will return the harbour to its original depth in those two areas allowing ships to use the established entry and exit shipping lanes,” Thompson said.
The Dutch Dredging company vessel Albatros will do the work which is scheduled to begin Thursday 22 April and take three-to-six days to complete.
“Wellington is the busiest shipping harbour in New Zealand with more than 7000 commercial vessel movements (inter-island ferries, container vessels, fuel tankers, bulk cargo vessels) every year,” said Thompson.
Approximately 22,000 cubic metres of sand will be removed to return the channels to their previous depth. The sand will be deposited at a site near CentrePort’s Thorndon Container Wharf – previously used for depositing dredged material from the berths at Aotea Quay following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.
Greater Wellington Regional Council has granted resource consent for the project covering areas such as care for the environment, maintenance of health and safety, and engagement with Te Whanganui a Tara iwi.
This is the first shipping channel maintenance required in Wellington Harbour since 1968 when 264,000 cubic metres was removed. Most New Zealand commercial ports require the regular removal of built-up material annually.