Geelong Advertiser (Danny Lannen)- August 17th, 2016
Record tanker depth points to new Geelong shipping heights
BREAKING of a Geelong shipping depth record by oil tanker Phoenix Advance points to multi million-dollar benefits from a new channel clearance monitoring system.
The Singapore-flagged crude carrier charted a previously unmatched draught of 11.9m entering the port, navigating the way for operators to increase loads on vessels, with significant returns.
Viva Energy Geelong refinery chiefs estimate allowance of 10cm of extra draught on an oil carrier equates in $1 million in savings a year.
Victorian Regional Channels Authority chief executive Captain Peter McGovern hailed introduction of the Melbourne-developed Dynamic Under Keel Clearance, DUKC, system at Geelong Port as one of the most significant achievements during his decade at the helm.
The system uses detailed algorithms based on tides, channel dimensions and ship ‘squat’ or depth while laden, to provide pilots with precise advice on clearances and travel speeds.
Mr McGovern said some ships would be able to carry 7000 to 9000 more tonnes of cargo.
“This makes Geelong more competitive in the long term, ships around the world are getting bigger and if Geelong wasn’t able to offer at least some advance in size then ships might be going to think ... Geelong slowly slips down the lead ladder,” he said.
The authority charges ships according to gross tonnage and for their draughts.
“Every centimetre over 10.7m there’s an extra charge so you can see the attraction for us. If the ships sink deeper therefore we get more money,” Mr McGovern said.
“The attraction for the ships if you can put 7000 more tonnes of woodchips in then the attraction for the woodchippers is they sell 7000 tonnes more and the attraction for the ship is it’s being paid to carry 7000 more tonnes of cargo.”
Viva Geelong refinery general manager Thys Heyns said the plant accounts for more than 50 per cent of Geelong Port trade and about 20 per cent of all ship visits to Geelong and he hailed the benefits from the keel clearance system as significant.
“For Viva Energy, each additional 10cm in vessel draught results in a saving of about $1 million per annum,” he said.
“During the past few years we have worked closely with parties, including the VRCA, to maximise the size of vessels that can be accommodated on refinery berths.
“As a consequence we can now concurrently berth two large crude or other feedstock vessels that helps reduce ship demurrage costs.
The channels authority paid $180,000 and has annual fees for the DUKC system.
Capt McGovern has announced he will step down as Victorian Regional Channels Authority chief executive next month.