A dredge that will more efficiently and effectively keep Port Taranaki’s shipping channels clear for trade will begin work next week.
The Albatros, a trailing suction hopper dredge that is owned and operated by Dutch Dredging, will arrive at Port Taranaki on Monday to undertake its first biennial maintenance dredging campaign at the port. The Albatros, which is about five years old, replaces the decommissioned Pelican.
“The Pelican did a great job for us for more than 30 years, but the Albatros is a modern dredge and is more efficient overall,” Port Taranaki head of infrastructure Mark Webb said.
“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.”
Project manager Ludo Galliegue said the capabilities of the Albatros meant the dredging campaign would run for about eight weeks, rather than 12 weeks or more previously, and the dredge would operate during day hours only – 6am to 6pm.
By the completion of the campaign, it is expected more than 300,000m³ of sand will have been removed and taken to consented drop grounds.
Much of the sand that is removed comes from the coast, west of the port, and is driven into the port by the wave climate that hits the main breakwater.
“The dredge does a very important job as it maintains the required draft for the safe passage of vessels in and out of Port Taranaki, which is vital for the region’s trade,” Mr Galliegue said.
“During the campaign, the dredge will be visible inside the harbour close to the main breakwater,” he said. “We urge recreational and commercial fishermen, kayakers and yachties to be mindful and keep clear. All regular marine rules apply while it is operating.”