Annual maintenance dredging will kick off at Weipa in Far North Queensland from early May with a COVID-19 control program in place.
North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) chief executive officer Nicolas Fertin said the dredge vessel TSHD Brisbane was due to begin work at the Port of Weipa next month.
Dredging will also be completed at Amrun on behalf of Rio Tinto, with the whole program expected to take between four to six weeks.
“In the same way we maintain roads and rail lines for freight transport, we need to look after our port infrastructure to keep trade flowing,” Mr Fertin said.
“Regular maintenance dredging ensures efficient, navigable shipping depths for our port users.
“Given the current environment, we have been working closely with Rio Tinto and other port users and stakeholders to align control measures to support safe and efficient operations.”
Mr Fertin said NQBP had developed a Project Health Management Plan to control risks associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of the measures will be the nightly closure of the commercial Evans Landing Wharf during the dredging program to maintain physical distancing with the Weipa community,” Mr Fertin said.
“The wharf will also need to be closed at times during the day so that project personnel, equipment and resources can be transferred onboard the project vessels.
“The Project Health Management Plan also outlines social distancing and self-isolation measures for crew and other essential contractors required to travel to Weipa.”