Pasha has done its Dash

The stricken bulk carrier Pasha, foundering metres from the coast of Newcastle's Nobby's Beach brings back memories of MSC Napoli foundering off Devon in January…….. It’s still being salvaged by the way.

Those of us campaigning against the Port of Melbourne's Channel Deepening proposal, which includes further deepening of the rocky entrance to Port Phillip Bay in Victoria shudder at today’s story of the Pasha.

The Great Ship Channel through the treacherous Rip (entrance to the Bay) where strong cross currents of up to 8 kts are the norm, is only 245 metres wide. If it were deepened by a further 3 -4 metres, as the Port of Melbourne Corporation is proposing, deeper draught vessels and oil tankers (sitting lower in the water) would more be more likely to hit rocky sides if they strayed off course.   


Ships up to 330 metres long and over 40 metre beam run a much greater risk of grounding when crabbing through this rocky sided channel, even in calm weather let alone during storms such as Newcastle is experiencing at the moment – and which we are told will be more regular in future.


Port Phillip Bay is a largely enclosed predominately very shallow waterway. Ten thousand years ago it was the floodplain of the Yarra River – it’s more a lagoon than a Bay.


Why does the PoMC want this so badly? So we can move a few more containers at slightly lower cost into Melbourne, and PoMC can retain its fast diminishing position as the premier container port in Australia. Is it worth the risk of another Exxon Valdez?


Let’s hope the Pasha doesn’t turn into the MSC Napoli of NSW.

And let's make sure we don't have a Pasha or a Napoli in Port Phillip Bay!




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