New response vessel and equipment for Newcastle


The Port of Newcastle has a new addition to its fleet of service vessels to help manage the port’s increasing trade and diversity of operations.

NSW Ports and Waterways Minister, Paul McLeay has welcomed the new addition, known as Response Vessel One. The 9m emergency response vessel will be used to clean up oil spills and as a backup for Marine Pilot transfers as well as general purpose duties such as wave-rider buoy recovery off the port.

“With nearly 3500 ship movements registered through the Port of Newcastle each year the increasing trade and shipping operations have been a burden on existing resources,” McLeay said.

“The response vessel was purchased and refurbished by Newcastle Port Corporation at an overall cost of $257,000 and will be introduced to service today (Monday).

“The Port of Newcastle is well equipped for oil-spill and emergency response but did not have a dedicated oil-spill response vessel until the purchase of Response Vessel One,” he said.

Minister for the Hunter, Jodi McKay said the response boat will be a useful addition to a port undergoing growth and diversification.

“The Port of Newcastle has been one of the strongest performing Ports in Australia over the last year despite the Global Financial Crisis,” McKay said.

“There has also seen considerable growth at the port with the recent opening of BP’s $40 million terminal expansion and wharf facilities.

“The introduction of the new response boat will support the continued growth of industry at the Port and reinforce the high operating standards currently in place,” she said.

The new vessel, a yellow aluminium Sharkcat, has an inboard diesel engine and has been modified to carry oil-spill response equipment.

“This purpose-built craft will allow Newcastle Port Corporation to comply with its Port Operating Licence and to adequately respond to any oil spill in the port,” McLeay said.

The introduction of Response Vessel One follows the delivery of two new 300m oil-spill booms costing $300,000. The equipment has just arrived from the US and is part of the Corporation’s ongoing efforts to protect the marine environment within the port limits.

McLeay said the new booms will be stored, deployed and recovered at two sites within the port.

Manual handling difficulties previously experienced with large oil-spill booms have been overcome with the purchase of hydraulic reels.

Footnote: Newcastle Port Corporation operates two Pilot Cutter vessels, two survey vessels, a port tender vessel and a dredger plus various maintenance barges to service and maintain port operations. It recently placed a $2.5 million order for replacement of one of the Pilot Cutter vessels, E C Close.