Navigational accessibility ‘improves’

NAVIGATIONAL accessibility between South Paray Bay and Iririki Island in Vanuatu has been greatly improved after the completion of dredging works in the area.

An Australian-owned and operated dredging, civil and marine construction company, operating in the Pacific Islands, South East Asia and Australia — Hall Pacific — was contracted by New Zealand contractor Hawkins to undertake the $4.71 million ($AU3 m) project.

Hall Pacific managing director Cameron Hall, in a statement last week, said his team had dredged a 50-metre wide channel that stretched over 200 metres in length and 5.5 metres deep.

“The channel will provide access to the new inter-island shipping wharf in South Paray Bay and is one of many wharf and jetty rehabilitation and construction projects across the country being funded by the Asian Development Bank and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he said.

“The hard limestone material dredged as part of the works was pumped to a reclamation area and will be used in constructing the new interisland shipping terminal and access roads.”

Mr Hall said the material was also used to create additional space for containers at the port, essentially allowing 60-metre long cargo ships to now use the channel.

“This cuts significant time off their voyage and greatly reduces operational costs,” he said.

Mr Hall said the port had remained fully operational while dredging was carried out, with the works taking approximately three months to complete.

“In addition to ensuring everyday port operations were not disrupted, our team also placed a strong focus on caring for the surrounding environment,” he said.

“Daily environmental monitoring including turbidity checks were undertaken to ensure the water quality was at an acceptable level for the area’s marine life.”

According to the statement, a team of 18 staff was tasked with carrying out the dredging works, with a number of Pacific Islanders trained as workboat operators, engine watch-keepers and deckhands.

“While our head office is based in Australia, we pride ourselves on working with local communities to boost employment and offer training opportunities wherever possible,” Mr Hall said.

“In addition to the four Australian expats involved with the project, our team was also comprised of workers from Fiji, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Korea and the Philippines.”

The project is the first the company has undertaken in Vanuatu; however, Hall Pacific is also set to commence work on the Lapetasi International Multi-purpose Wharf Development Project, which will see a new international container terminal and wharf built in Port Vila.

Hall Pacific has been servicing the Pacific Islands for more than 10 years, having successfully carried out projects in countries such as Fiji and Tuvalu. The company specialises in climate change adaptation and resilience including land reclamation, coastal protection, flood mitigation dredging and infrastructure delivery.

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