Works under way to deepen inlet in Cairns

Cairns Trinity Inlet. Credit: Getty Images

Dredging works have begun to deepen Trinity Inlet in Cairns, Australia, so that larger cruise ships can enter and berth. These works are part of the Cairns Shipping Development project.

The 111 m-long German-build dredger Balder R was deployed in July to open the inlet to allow for cruise ships up to 300 m in length. The vessel was chosen as it was previously used to dredge sand for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

“The Cairns Shipping Development is the key to unlocking a whole new tourism and jobs market for the Far North,” assistant treasurer Glen Butcher MP said. Balder R will remove soft clays from the channel, which will then be delivered to a facility 3 km offshore and pumped along an 8 km pipeline to a dedicated site at the Northern Sands mine.

Dredging is expected to take 12 weeks and will be completed by mid-September, with a second dredger, Woomera, scheduled to join the works at the end of July. The 65 m vessel will be used to remove the stiff clays from the channel.

“Not only will there be a significant increase in the size and number of cruise ships and other vessels that can berth in Cairns, the shipping channel and other port upgrades open up opportunities for the naval presence in Far North Queensland as well,” Butcher concluded.