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.

Advertisements