The Rip is a Rip off

June 2012

It was strenuously argued by the PoMC, the state government, the shipping industry and business groups such as VECCI, that the whole raison d’être of the project was to allow unfettered access for ships of up to 14 metres draught on all states of the tide at The Rip in all but the most extreme metocean conditions. If we couldn’t do that, Melbourne would “wither on the vine” said Mr. Brumby.

So you may be somewhat surprised to learn that since July 2011, a Notice to Mariners which is still in force dictates that Tankers of 11.6 metres draught or more must not transit the Heads when tide speed is over 3 knots. Other vessels of greater than 12.1 metres draught are also variously restricted, depending on whether they are entering or exiting the Bay, if tides are running at over 4 knots. See the 2011 Notice to Mariners which is still in force, at:

Even more surprising is how often The Rip tide speed is more than 3 knots. Tide tables for this week (7th to 13th June 2012) shows the maximum tide speeds would prevent the transit of the draught affected ships through The Heads for significant portions of every day. See: Tidal stream tables for this week, choose location Port Phillip Heads Streams, then click Submit  at:

And, you may remember that before channel deepening, an 11.6 metres draught vessel was able to enter the Bay at all stages of the tide, and a 12.1 metre draught vessel could enter with tide assistance…..So how much has been achieved, and what risks have we exposed the environment to, by the removal of almost 1 million cubic metres of reef habitat from The Rip, and over 3 million tonnes of toxic sludge from the Yarra being dumped in the Bay?

Perhaps not so much has been achieved as we were told we had to have? 

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