Napier Port is on track to start dredging for 6 Wharf this week, taking the port one step closer to finishing the wharf by the end of 2022.
6 Wharf will allow the port to reduce congestion and welcome more and larger ships as vessel sizes increase and exports out of the region grow.
Napier Port general manager infrastructure services Michel de Vos says the GPK – a backhoe dredge operated by Heron Construction – arrived from Lyttleton today and dredging will commence this week.
“The community will be able to see the GPK in the harbour for the next 18 months or so,” says Mr de Vos. “Some dredge plume may be visible as Heron goes about their work. This is sediment from the seafloor and is a normal part of the dredging process.”
Napier Port is monitoring water quality in real-time to ensure the dredging doesn’t harm the marine environment, in particular fisheries and Pania Reef, which is a site of cultural significance and an important breeding ground for kai moana.
“We’ll be alerted immediately by our monitoring buoys at Pania Reef if turbidity (water quality) is above expected levels and will adapt our operations, or stop, until conditions mean it’s safe to resume,” says Mr de Vos.
The Port will deposit most of the dredged material at a consented site 5 kilometres east of the port.
The dredging work is being guided by best-practice management plans to ensure water quality, cultural and recreational values, biosecurity, marine wildlife and birds, are protected.
The Harbour Master has issued a notice to marine users to extend the marine exclusion zone around the port to keep vessels safe. All vessels not associated with the dredging operation are asked to stay 50 metres away from the dredge.