Posted January 28, 2019
The Albatros suction dredge will take away about 300,000 cubic metres of material from the Port Taranaki harbour.
Routine maintenance dredging at Port Taranaki will help replenish local beaches, port authorities say.
The Dutch-owned Albatros trailing suction hopper dredge will start the two yearly maintenance campaign at the New Plymouth port soon.
It will be the 5-year-old vessel's first dredging programme in Port Taranaki.
The Albatros replaced the Pelican, which was decommissioned in 2017 after 30 years at the port.
Port Taranaki infrastructure head Mark Webb said the dredging work would keep Port Taranaki's shipping channels clear to trade more efficiently and effectively,
"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," 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 vessel's capabilities meant the dredging campaign would run for about eight weeks, rather than 12 weeks or more previously.
The dredge would operate from 6am to 6pm, he said.
It is expected more than 300,000 cubic metres of sand - the equivalent of 27,000 concrete filled trucks, or 120 Olympic sized swimming pools - will be removed and taken to consented inshore and offshore drop grounds.
The offshore area is about 2km out from the port, and the inshore area is along the coast, about 900 metres off the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre, Webb said.
Research several years ago showed the inshore drop-off area would help replenish the sand on the city's beaches, he said.
Much of the sand removed comes from the coast, west of the port, and was driven into the port by the waves that hit 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," Galliegue said.
The depth of the harbour would remain at 12.5m after the dredging was completed, he said.
"During the campaign, the dredge will be visible inside the harbour close to the main breakwater.
"We urge recreational and commercial fishermen, kayakers and yachties to be mindful and keep clear as all regular marine rules apply while it is operating."