Logjam continues

Swells causing more loading delays, damage to boats, infrastructure.

Swells causing more loading delays, damage to boats, infrastructure.

Gisborne’s logging and fishing industries are still suffering the impacts of frequent and uncharacteristic swells into Eastland Port. Yesterday while the Eastern Cape was loading 15,000 tonnes of wood, the tug Waimata was used to hold it safely in place. In the foreground, the swell pulls mooring ropes on the Giovannina fishing vessel. Picture by Paul Rickard

Strong swells are still pumping into Eastland Port, affecting logship loading and fishing boats.

While the port is berthing ships out of schedule to help ease congestion, and using one of its tugs to help stabilise a ship while loading, Gisborne Fisheries boats have suffered snapped mooring lines and damage from boats smashing into each other.

Port infrastructure has also been damaged.

As of this morning, seven log ships were waiting in the bay to load.

The port and Gisborne Fisheries say the swells are uncharacteristic and this year has been one of the worst experienced.

Port general manager Andrew Gaddum said the port was focused on working with customers to maximise berthing opportunities it gets given the uncharacteristic frequency of swell events.

Logging vessel Eastern Cape came in ahead of schedule on Monday as her draft and loading requirements were best suited to the weather conditions.

Mr Gaddum says Eastland Port has worked with exporters on ways to mitigate the effects of the swells.

“We’ve got a good relationship with exporters and their agents who understand that it’s better to manage the backlog of ships by rescheduling the order of loading, rather than having multiple ships sitting waiting in the harbour.”

Another way to ease congestion is to part-load the ships to a draft that allows them to re-enter at any tide, he says.

Mr Gaddum says further swell events will occur but following this event there is a period of more settled weather.

“The port is working hard on gaining consents for construction of a second berth to allow the simultaneous loading of vessels when the weather is good,” he said.

The big swells are also affecting the fishing industry here.

Gisborne Fisheries chief executive Salve Zame said the swells had been shocking over the past couple of weeks.

“We have had snapped mooring lines and damage from boats smashing into each other.”

Mr Zame said mooring lines had been doubled but the extent of the surge meant lines still could not cope with the surges.

“We have been looking to move around into the inner harbour for safe berthage but unfortunately the No.4 pier was damaged therefore those vessels have been moved, so we have been unable to find space.”

Swells among the worst experienced for years

Gisborne Fisheries staff are having to constantly check lines and double them up, even during the night, he said.

“Unfortunately, we can check them regularly, however, they can break as soon as we leave.”

The business was trying to understand what the port was doing to enable the reduction of surge.

“We understand the port has plans to extend the breakwater so hopefully that would improve the situation.

Mr Zame said this year was one of the worst he had experienced in many years.

“The swell direction is obviously at the ideal angle to move up the harbour.

“We are having discussions with the port to try to allow us safe berthage around the corner.”

There has also been damage to port infrastructure.

Mr Gaddum said commercial vessel owners with boats tied up alongside the inner wharves and berthholders with boats in the inner harbour had been reminded it was their responsibility to help protect Eastland Port infrastructure and their own vessels.

Pier 4 was damaged beyond repair in May, the new Wharf 3 suffered damage recently and Wharf 5, where commercial fishing boats are moored, has also suffered minor damage.

“The battering effect of these long-period waves can be highly destructive, even in the relatively protected area of the inner harbour,” says Mr Gaddum.

“It’s hoped Eastern Cape can be piloted out of Eastland Port today or tomorrow on the high tide.”

Strong swells are still pumping into Eastland Port, affecting logship loading and fishing boats.

While the port is berthing ships out of schedule to help ease congestion, and using one of its tugs to help stabilise a ship while loading, Gisborne Fisheries boats have suffered snapped mooring lines and damage from boats smashing into each other.

Port infrastructure has also been damaged.

As of this morning, seven log ships were waiting in the bay to load.

The port and Gisborne Fisheries say the swells are uncharacteristic and this year has been one of the worst experienced.

Port general manager Andrew Gaddum said the port was focused on working with customers to maximise berthing opportunities it gets given the uncharacteristic frequency of swell events.

Logging vessel Eastern Cape came in ahead of schedule on Monday as her draft and loading requirements were best suited to the weather conditions.

Mr Gaddum says Eastland Port has worked with exporters on ways to mitigate the effects of the swells.

“We’ve got a good relationship with exporters and their agents who understand that it’s better to manage the backlog of ships by rescheduling the order of loading, rather than having multiple ships sitting waiting in the harbour.”

Another way to ease congestion is to part-load the ships to a draft that allows them to re-enter at any tide, he says.

Mr Gaddum says further swell events will occur but following this event there is a period of more settled weather.

“The port is working hard on gaining consents for construction of a second berth to allow the simultaneous loading of vessels when the weather is good,” he said.

The big swells are also affecting the fishing industry here.

Gisborne Fisheries chief executive Salve Zame said the swells had been shocking over the past couple of weeks.

“We have had snapped mooring lines and damage from boats smashing into each other.”

Mr Zame said mooring lines had been doubled but the extent of the surge meant lines still could not cope with the surges.

“We have been looking to move around into the inner harbour for safe berthage but unfortunately the No.4 pier was damaged therefore those vessels have been moved, so we have been unable to find space.”

Swells among the worst experienced for years

Gisborne Fisheries staff are having to constantly check lines and double them up, even during the night, he said.

“Unfortunately, we can check them regularly, however, they can break as soon as we leave.”

The business was trying to understand what the port was doing to enable the reduction of surge.

“We understand the port has plans to extend the breakwater so hopefully that would improve the situation.

Mr Zame said this year was one of the worst he had experienced in many years.

“The swell direction is obviously at the ideal angle to move up the harbour.

“We are having discussions with the port to try to allow us safe berthage around the corner.”

There has also been damage to port infrastructure.

Mr Gaddum said commercial vessel owners with boats tied up alongside the inner wharves and berthholders with boats in the inner harbour had been reminded it was their responsibility to help protect Eastland Port infrastructure and their own vessels.

Pier 4 was damaged beyond repair in May, the new Wharf 3 suffered damage recently and Wharf 5, where commercial fishing boats are moored, has also suffered minor damage.

“The battering effect of these long-period waves can be highly destructive, even in the relatively protected area of the inner harbour,” says Mr Gaddum.

“It’s hoped Eastern Cape can be piloted out of Eastland Port today or tomorrow on the high tide.”

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