Severe weather conditions sometimes impact scheduled ship visits to our ports and today it was a test for the cruise ship Noordam, already safely berthed at Macquarie 2/3 in the Port of Hobart but feeling the brunt of winds gusting up to 50 knots.
With a focus on ensuring marine safety and under the guidance/direction/oversight of the Tasmanian Harbour Master, TasPorts tug Yandeyarra was deployed to lend support to the enormous vessel, holding her in place over the course of the afternoon to prevent additional pressure on the mooring lines.
In other parts of the State, shipping movements were delayed in the Port of Burnie with several vessels directed to anchor offshore pending an ease in conditions. It is anticipated conditions will ease throughout tomorrow morning enabling vessels to be cleared to enter the port.
When severe weather events occur, TasPorts Vessel Traffic Services actively monitor all shipping movements state-wide remaining in close contact with ship agents and vessel masters to ensure the provision of timely and accurate information to best guide decision making around ship movements.
This decision-making process involves using all available means of assessment for different types of ships and is based on but not limited to the following:
- The prevailing and predicted wind strength and direction.
- The prevailing and predicted swell both offshore at the Pilot Boarding Ground and in the harbour itself alongside the berth.
- The probable risk of a ship ‘ranging’ up and down the berth causing significant infrastructure and berth damage and snapping/parting mooring lines resulting in damage to ships passenger transfer arrangements and ships gangways.
- The safety of shore and ship-based personnel when ships mooring lines are being handled during the times that the ships are being tied up and let go.
- The safe operating conditions of the attending tugs.
- The safe operating conditions for the attending Pilot Vessel and the ability to conduct a safe marine pilot transfer.
Decisions impacting shipping movements are not taken lightly, and TasPorts’ obligations remain first and foremost to marine safety and environmental protection, along with protection of port infrastructure and assets.