Case Study – Pilbara Ports Authority

Case Study – Pilbara Ports Authority

By In Case Studies On November 18, 2014

2013 – 2014

Precision Hydrographic Services have been conducting high accuracy hydrographic survey operations in Port Hedland over the last few years with Jan De Nul dredging and Pilbara Ports Authority. Surveys have been conducted to the highest standard to increase safety of navigation and maximising throughput of the port by providing the port authority with a better understanding of the environment in which they operate.

Detailed feature identification in the shipping channel

Port Hedland is located on the North West coast approximately 1500km north of Perth Western Australia. The port has an enclosed harbour with 16 berths to enable the loading of Iron ore, salt, mineral sands and general cargo. The Port Hedland channel is a narrow channel approximately 44km in length and runs directly offshore in a northerly direction. This poses a number of issues relating to survey at such a distance from shore.

Outbound ships from Port Hedland are constrained by their draft and require unimpeded passage and navigational safety is of paramount importance. This requires accurate knowledge of the water depth and identification of anything that may become a danger to the safe navigation of these massive ships.

The port operates under a Dynamic Under Keel Clearance DUKC ™ system run by OMC, this system calculates the maximum allowable draft of a bulk carrier based on the available depth of water along with other factors such as tide, vessel motion and weather. The draft is calculated to obtain a balance between the maximum allowable draft and safety of the vessel. The DUKC ™ system requires the input of accurate tidal and bathymetric data to facilitate this calculation.

PHS has been assisting the port with the development of a tidal model that best represents the tide as the channel stretches offshore. This tide model has been connected to the ellipsoid to improve the accuracy of survey data and facilitate the rapid turnaround of survey data for dredging purposes.

Clearance surveys have been conducted to the highest standard, providing the port and OMC with the confidence to navigate bulk carriers along the channel knowing that all depths are accurate and any objects or features affecting the safety of navigation have been identified.

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