The arrival of the dredge Woomera Friday July 26 2019 signals the start of the second phase of dredging to widen and deepen the Trinity Inlet navigation channel.

The back-hoe dredge is the largest vessel of its kind in Australia and is the latest addition to the fleet of dredging contractor of Brisbane-based Hall Contracting Dredging and Construction Company.

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the Woomera’s arrival was the crucial next step for the Cairns Shipping Development Project.

“It will be quite a sight to see the Woomera showing what it can do for the first time in Australian waters as it manoeuvres around the Port of Cairns’ inner channel,” Mr Healy said.

“This is a crucial part of the project that will ensure the Port of Cairns will be well positioned to benefit from cruise shipping industry demands into the future.

“This means more ships, more visitors, more tourism and business opportunities for the region, as well as improved access and efficiency for bulk cargo ships and larger visiting Navy vessels.

“Already we’re seeing this project create 800 direct and indirect jobs during construction, and by 2031 it’ll mean more than 2,700 jobs for the region.”

Dredging work is expected to begin on July 25 and to conclude in mid-September.

Ports North Chairman Russell Beer said the Woomera will remove stiff clays from the inner harbour which will be transported by barge to Ports North’s Tingira Street placement site to be reused in the industrial hub of the Port of Cairns.

“We selected the Tingira Street site because the stiff clays in the inner harbour have better engineering qualities than the soft silts in the outer channel and can be re-used for fill in land development,” Mr Beer said.

“This decision has been made following studies of the existing environment within Trinity Bay to minimise any potential adverse environmental, social and economic impacts while maximising potential economic benefits.

“Localised water turbidity while dredging is taking place is inevitable when you’re dealing with thick muds and clays, so we’ll closely monitor water quality throughout the bay while the work is happening.”

The Ports North-owned Tingira Street site also underwent rigorous environmental assessment including major studies on the impacts to flora and fauna.

“Primarily the area is non-remnant vegetation and all relevant approvals and offsets were resolved for works in that area of the Port,” Mr Beer said.

Following completion of the dredging, site stabilisation will be undertaken and the dredge material used for geotechnical improvements to enable future Port-related uses on the site.

The Woomera was renamed and launched in Brisbane last month, and is a Backacter (BA) 900 model designed in the Netherlands.

It is 65m in length and can dredge depths of up to 26 metres.

The excavator attached to the back weighs 370 tonnes and will use 10m³and 13m³ bucket attachments for the project.

For more information on the Project visit our CSDP page on our website at

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