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New channel ready for use

New channel ready for use

(Posted on 02/04/19)

The project to deepen, widen and lengthen Lyttleton Port’s Harbour’s shipping channel is complete and ready for use, ensuring Lyttelton is prepared for the future of larger vessels calling at the port. 

Lyttleton Port, located on New Zeeland’s south island, provides facilities for loading and unloading bulk products such as petroleum, fertiliser, gypsum, cement, logs, conventional break-bulk and imported vehicles.

The Fairway Dredge completed the project late last year, and now twenty-two new navigation aids see Lyttelton become one of New Zeeland’s leading ports with this state-of-the-art system.

LPC Chief Executive Peter Davie says the new system will improve the safety of all commercial shipping movements within the Harbour and allow larger and deeper draught container ships to call at Lyttelton.

“Container ships have doubled in size over the last 10 years and the trend toward bigger ships continues.

“We have enlarged the existing shipping channel to provide access to larger ships and support Lyttelton’s future as the South Island’s major international trade gateway.”

The container terminal’s maximum draught is now 13.3 metres at Cashin Quay 2 and 3 East.

Davie says one of the biggest improvements from the new navigation aids is that our visibility will increase.

“The old main channel leading light was in the hills above Governors Bay. The new sector light is now six kilometres closer to the end of the channel and will be much more visible during misty and drizzly conditions.

“In addition to all the physical structures, computer generated virtual marks will appear on the screens of vessels using electronic charts or chart plotters equipped with an AIS receiver. These marks show the position of the Pilot boarding area off Godley Head, the edge of the channel and the limits of the dredged swinging basin off Cashin Quay.

“Using virtual marks reduces the number of buoys required to be placed in the Harbour and also reduces the risk of recreational boaties running into them, as there is nothing there.”

OMC International, world leaders in under-keel clearance technology for ports and harbours, have helped LPC significantly reduce the volume of dredging required to upgrade the port’s entrance channel through use of Dynamic Under-Keel Clearance (DUKC®) technology. DUKC is an intelligent software tool that Pilots use to determine whether or not it is safe to transit large vessels in or out of the Port.

OMC’s work in Lyttelton earned them Support Service Provider of the Year at the 2018 Dredging and Port Construction Awards in Amsterdam in November.

A ‘DUKC program will also be used that links to the Portable Pilot Units (PPU), to calculate and continuously monitor the under keel clearance of large draught vessels as they move through the channel.

A weather buoy and further sensors in the Harbour will analyse swell and wind information to give a unique tidal window for each vessel.

All the Lyttelton Pilots and other key members of the Marine Team have done additional training, including using the ship simulator in Auckland so they can become familiar with the new systems.

“We are thrilled to be at the cutting edge of modern navigation, and although it has been a steep learning curve for our team, their ability to adapt and embrace this new technology has been fantastic.”

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