In the wake of Tropical Cyclone Debbie, initial assessments have shown that the Queensland ports of Mackay, Hay Point and Abbot Point have all emerged in good condition.
North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) Chief Executive Officer Steve Lewis said first reports, including from terminal operators, indicate the ports have stood up well to the extreme weather challenges posed by Cyclone Debbie.
“As you would expect, there has been some damage from debris and flood water. But we have not received reports of significant damage at this time.
“Like a large part of the region, power remains the critical challenge with outages at all of our NQBP sites,” Mr Lewis said.
Mr Lewis said that NQBP will start clean-up work and more detailed assessment of infrastructure located at the Port of Mackay.
“Marine Safety Queensland has given the ‘okay’ to vessels off the Ports of Hay Point and Abbot Point to return to anchorage from the outer reef,” Mr Lewis said.
“However, the next step is for seabed surveys to be done and the Regional Harbour Masters to give the all clear before vessels will be permitted to return to the navigational channels, berth pockets and wharves at the ports of Abbot Point, Hay Point and Mackay.
Mr Lewis said that NQBP in particular thanks the HMAS Melville, which responded to its request for assistance to undertake seabed surveys at the Port of Abbot Point.
The surveys found no obstructions or issues with the berths and aprons. Further surveys will be conducted tomorrow in regard to the port’s departure paths.
“Landside, at the Port of Mackay, we are facilitating access to port customers to inspect their facilities.
“These are all important steps in gearing up to commence trading again from these critical Queensland assets.”
Mr Lewis said NQBP’s priority is making sure people are safe and that they will not compromise the safety of people to re-commence trade.
“Re-opening of the coal terminals at the Ports of Hay Point and Abbot Point will be a decision made by the private businesses that operate those terminals.
“We remain in the midst of a severe weather event and the impacts of this type of event can be unpredictable.
“We are part of a community which is reeling, but we are North Queensland and we will recover,” said Mr Lewis.