Archive for the ‘Port Phillip Bay’ Category

Grounding of ship is warning of Port Phillip Bay disaster to come
May 9, 2008

Today’s shipping accident involving a relatively small New Zealand cargo vessel is just one more warning for those who live around the bay. It’s hull slid onto the Great Sands and wasn’t deep enough to reach the rocky outcrops the sand hides. This was during mild weather and without the RIP tides being involved. It was relatively easy to drag off. There are an estimated three accidents of this type annually (since 1974).

The real danger is when the tankers with a hull depth of another 3 to 4 metres run onto the sands. It will happen because the mouth of the southern channel has no room for safety. A large ship entering the channel from the RIP is at a an angle, and so a 50 metres wide vessel can be as much as 130 metres wide and the estimated 200 metre wide entrance offers no real safety margins when there is a 14 knot tide running through the RIP and perhaps a storm adding to the chaos.

A fractured hull on a tanker means an Exxon Valdez for Port Phillip Bay. The billion dollar profit alleged from the deepening of the southern channel and the RIP will look puny compared to the $20 billion clean-up ( estimated cost of Exxon Valdez disaster). That was in the ocean were oil could escape. Now, imagine a disaster of that magnitude in the bay. Peter Garret please take notice.

Prime Minister Rudd reduces Garnaut to just another opinion
February 21, 2008

Prime Minister Rudd heralded Garnaut as the reason he didn’t go to the election with a climate change policy. He gave him a broad brief, a Royal Commission would have loved the same, and now pretends he hadn’t regarded Ross Garnaut as a serious climate expert.

Spin is okay I suppose(no, it’s not) but when the planet’s existence as we know it is at risk we can certainly blame Rudd and preceding governments as those who had no respect for the environment, and so hit them with writs under the UN legislation that enables such action.

Do we have precedents for their not having respect or concern for the environment? Sure do. There’s the dredging in Port Phillip Bay that has not had carbon release estimated. And then there’s the Tamar valley world’s largest pulp mill go-ahead. Neither of these have world’s best practice techniques. Dumping dredged toxic material in the same water it’s dredged from is a definite no-no as far as wbp is concerned. And the toxins to be used in pulp manufacture is not used in the wbp pulp mills in Scandinavian countries.

Port Phillip Bay will be dredged by cowboys and still be devoid of ships
February 4, 2008

The Dutch company dredging Port Phillip Bay into a disaster area employs dredging cowboys, according to former Captain Gerry Seymour. Seymour has worked for the company and says their only dredging criteria is do it fast. The faster it’s done the more money for the company.

Balmain based Seymour related the story of his refusing to dredge within metres of the Port Kembla wharves. He said he would only dredge to thirty metres. The company hired someone else for the night dredging and when Seymour returned the next morning he saw the dredge had hit the wharves destroying two cranes and all the lifeboats on the dredge.

He said the usual contract stipulates that if they finish the dredging before time there is a daily bonus for every day saved. He holds very little hope for the restoration of the bay.

Seymour also says that going by his experience with shipping companies (and he owned ships himself), if the shipping companies have threatened not to visit a port unless it’s deepened they are already seriously thinking of not using the port. He knows that the cost of freight from anywhere in the world to Sydney or Melbourne is the same, so they would prefer not to have to visit a second port and be up for charges for pilots, tugs and be unable to use toxic metal restorers in the Bay. They’d prefer to unload in Botany Bay or even Brisbane. Seymour said they are ruthless enough to refuse to use Port Phillip Bay even if the dredging has been undertaken at their bidding.

No water to drink? It’s the fault of our politicians and bureaucrats.
February 3, 2008

As usual the planet’s governments are doing nothing to alleviate the global warming gases. We know climate change is on but government bureaucrats and politicians have been living now for several decades of consensual decision-making and are bereft of innovative thought.

Epitomising this is the World Economic Forum, as reported by the Guardian last week. Outside the windows of the Forum’s chalet is the snow of the swiss Alps, suitably enhanced by an artifical snow cannon. The snow takes a third of all the water used in Davos where the Forum is taking place, and where water (and snow) shortage is becoming a problem. However those who are attending the Economic Forum have a benign, almost casual, attitude to the reality of 3 billion people living in water stressed areas within 20 years.

The economic Forum is dealing with alarming figures. For instance to make a cotton T-shirt takes 27,000 litres of water. An individual in a rich developed nation uses about 3,000 litres of water a day when the UN says a minimum of 20 litres a day is required for a person each day. In developed countries flushinbg the toilet in a household average 50 litres a day.

However in Davos they are still on the wrong track, imagining they can balance the needs of industry and people, and regarding that as a priority. They are still attempting to encourage the the growth of product when that has been artificially stimulated by an exploitative advertising industry using many Freudian perceptions to encourage the consuming of what is only be glossy rubbish, given status in a phoney brand name ownership competition.

The Davos wizards think a bureaucratic solution is possible because the only way to to adress problems is with large responses. Problem is that large responses require rules, regulations and customs, and in climate meergtencies such ponderous techniques have to be thrown out the window. hasn’t any of these alleged high-flyers lived in extreme conditions? haven’t they ever felt the need for water when water is fifty k’s away and it may take hours to get there. Let’s go to desert people to get a hold on what a lack of water is about. I have just observed aboriginal water holes near Talbot, Victoria, Australia. They have been dug a day’s walk from each other across some very dry country. Until last year the water holes had water in summer. Now they are dry. A hundred years ago it would have meant the death of the tribes who relied on those holes. Do the Davos mob get it? I don’t think so.

If Melbourne has the same style of rainfall next year as last year, and the desalination plant is not on line, Melbourne won’t have sufficient drinking water. The rainbfall is down but not alarmingly if you look at the figures. However the rain has been coming in brief down pours that doesn’t flow to the catchment areas.

Check on what your local industry and government are doing? Here in Melbourne the State Government under Premier Brumby (with the help of the Federal Government and Minister for the Environment Peter Garrett) are embarking on a horrendously toxic dredging exercise in Port Phillip Bay that will destroy the Bay waters and release huge amounts of global warming gases, and the latter have not been estimated.

Premier Brumby’s mates on Bay dredging are nicking off
January 31, 2008

Those who supported Premier Brumby in his push for the Bay dredging are backing off. Even the individuals from the Melbourne Club are deserting him as they finally understand that they are about destroying the feature that makes Melbourne – the pristine waters of the Bay.

The dredging will destroy the sea grass beds and the fish breeding grounds forever. The unique dolphins that evolved in the Bay will be gone ( as they have in the Gippsland Lake system), and those idyllic summers on beach sands will be replaced by toxic water, dead creatures and the horrendous stink of the pollution.

As the bay waters rise ( the Arctic ice will be gone by 2013, the Antarctic ice a little later) the Bay mess after the dredging will enter beach front living rooms, for the volume of tidal water (neap tides etc) will increase monumentally.

We also know there has been no math done on the chance of an Exxon Valdez with the larger tankers. Captain Frank Hart, former harbour master, says it’s not if it happens but when. He’s been ignored until now. Why? He was undermined by the scurrilous Port of Melbourne Authority and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (they betrayed Melbourne on Yarra pollution so we can’t ever believe them again). Figures on global warming gases have not been considered.

An offer of resignation if the Bay is destroyed by dredging should be on Brumby’s table
January 24, 2008

Premier Brumby should offer to resign if  his vision of bay dredging destroys Victoria’s (and Melbourne’s) recreational grounds. One of the reason we haven’t had too much angst from the monied class is that they go to the ocean for their summers.

However a resignation offer would really test his sincerity and belief in the process that led to Bay dredging.

One aspect that belies his belief is that there has been no speculation on the release of carbon and other warming gases from the dredging.

Premier Brumby can’t lie straight in bed and Port Phillip Bay is going to pay for his spin on dredging
January 24, 2008

On the question of the dredging of Port Phillip Bay Premier Brumby can’t lie straight in bed. His blather is filled with copious lies. Today on the John Fain show he said the Port of Melbourne Authority was the proponent of dredging for larger ships. The POM are a government body and I can just see them going ahead with a proposal without government approval. Come on Brumby we all know how government works these days. You’ve been driving this vision for close to a decade.

Brumby blithely says we’ve had environmental reports, as though they agreed that there would be no damage to the Bay. The first report, and the most accurate, held fears for the sea grass (it hasn’t returned to Corio Bay after dredging there), the danger of toxic water to the dolphins, and those who fish and use the bay as a recreational ground. There was even mention of an unholy stink for several years. How about decades after the giant ships are gone and Port Phillip Bay can’t take the next wave of even larger ships no matter how much dredging.

No panel has ever considered or debated the Exxon Valdez scenario for the Bay despite pilots, and Captain Frank Hart, a former harbour master saying there will be a disaster of those dimensions. The pilots who used the navigational gear on the bigger ships all ran aground and there have been no further tests to publicise a success of such an exercise.

People of Melbourne be warned, you’re lifestyle is about to be ruined.

Premier Brumby’s only vision – dredge Port Phillip Bay
January 22, 2008

The dredging of Port Phillip Bay is premier Brumby’s vision – his only vision. This blog has been saying that for months but today it was confirmed by The Age. He has been pushing and manipulating for this end for years.

Now, against all genuine advice, he is going ahead. Not too good himself when meeting the public, except with the occasional patronising witticism, directed at those who support him, he has pushed and pushed for the dredging and the larger port, and former Premier Bracks has departed, not wanting to be the member who destroyed his electorate of Williamstown.

Williamstown is right where the waters of Hobson’s Bay languish. There aren’t too many currents there and Hobson’s Bay has experienced blue-green algae in the not too distant past. Those poisons and heavy metals dredged will not be rushed away. Nor will the two foot layer of fat that was laid down by the abbatoirs that operated on the banks of the Maribyrnong until two decade ago. If a current is stimulated by weather conditions the drift is across to Port Melbourne and St. Kilda. Of course where the toxic substances are to be dumped after dredging will be in the middle of the Bay and a good wind creates strong wave rhythm and  rogue currents in the shallow waters.

Premier Brumby says in The Age today that the debate is over. There has never been a genuine one, for his medling staff have indulged in, as The Age says today, “sinister” attempts at manipulation. They have also been successful in the manipulations. They destroyed the reputation of Captain Frank Hart , a former harbour master of Western Port Bay,  and several former Bay pilots (see previous posts). They fed incorrect information to the ineffectual protest group Blue Wedge, who  tacitly agreed that they wouldn’t be too forward with Captain Hart’s calculations that we face an Exxon Valdez disaster (no one has actually done the math to discover the risk). They (Blue Wedge) did release a press statement on their website to that effect but did not push it as a major concern. It is.

It’s good that The Age has caught two of Brumby’s minions in a corrupt strategy to nullify Lindsay Fox’s concern about traffic. Brumby is of course implicated in that piece of corruption. He has always played politics that way.

Who is Brumby you may ask? He’s an old Melbourne Grammar lad who is supported in his vision by several Melbourne Club members who stand to make mega millions in providing the infrastructure for this project, and for the move to Western Port Bay when the next wave of even larger ships will not be able to enter Port Phillip Bay at all.

On Port Phillip Bay dredging Premier Brumby proves himself a lightweight
January 22, 2008

Today Premier Brumby proved himself a twit over the dredging of Port Phillip Bay. His logic was frightfully flawed. He said it was better for traffic flow in and around the CBD to have large cargo ships discharging cargo than thousands of smaller ones.

Anyone who has been in a traffic grid lock knows that waiting for a large anything to unload is going to create more waiting time than a small anything to unload. And again the small ships are usually owned by small operators who are not part of the monolithic corporations who have already helped ruin the planet with their over production of everything.

For a start we don’t have thousands of small ships unloading because we don’t have huge imports like the rest of the countries on the Pacific rim. We also don’t have a large amount of manufactured products leaving our shores because they’re all being manufactured in China and India.

Many transport operators have advised the investigative panels that the ships we are dredging for can already enter our Melbourne port because by the time they reach us they will be close to empty, having visited all the other Pacific ports before us. However these transport experts have not factored in oil tankers – the most dangerous creatures to Port Phillip Bay – for they will enter fully laden (see previous posts).

Who should you blame for the diseases that effect you? Dumping toxic waste into Port Phillip Bay is the work of political hooligans
January 22, 2008

Dumping the toxic waste from the dredging back into Port Phillip Bay is far the most irresponsible act a State government could sponsor.

Apart from the global warming gases released – often twenty times the strength of CO2 – the toxic subtstances will remain in the Bay forever as they climb through the food chain to reside with us. Their cancer causing capacities are legendary. So, who will you blame when your relatives, off-spring or yourself develop such symptoms?

Hardy paid out on asbestos because they knew at the time they were producing it that it was dangerous. The State government and individuals who are pushing this craziness know the properties of arsenic and cyanide and the many heavy metals that will be released from the river once dredging and dumping begins. They will be as responsible as any asbestos producer because they know the properties they are allowing to be released.