A dredging campaign to keep Port Taranaki's shipping channels clear for trade begins today (Monday, February 22).
The biennial maintenance dredging work is expected to be completed over eight weeks. Initial surveying of the area, to determine the dredging locations and likely volume of material to be removed, was completed in late January and early February.
It will be the second dredging campaign carried out at Port Taranaki by the Albatros, a trailing suction hopper dredge that is owned and operated by Dutch Dredging.
The Albatros replaced the decommissioned Pelican and proved more efficient and effective in 2019, cutting four weeks off the previous campaign duration.
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"Dredging does an important job maintaining the required draft for the safe passage
of vessels in and out of Port Taranaki," Port Taranaki engineering manager Ludo
"The Albatros was very proficient in its first campaign here, removing about 400,000m³ of sand and sediment that is driven into the port by the predominant current and wave action that hits the main breakwater. We expect similar amounts of material to be removed this campaign to maintain the channel depths."
Although for much of the campaign the Albatros will work only daylight hours,
because of a delayed arrival from its most recent job, Ludo says that for a period the dredge may operate 24 hours a day to remain on schedule.
The captured material will be dropped at sites within consented areas.
"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. Following research several years ago, the inshore area was specifically chosen to help replenish the sand on the city's beaches."
Ludo says during the campaign the dredge would be visible inside the harbour close to the main breakwater, and he asked that recreational and commercial fishermen, kayakers, yachties and other water users please keep clear.