Dredging operations at Australia’s deep-water global gateway have received a significant boost with the launch of Port of Newcastle’s new multipurpose “sweeper” vessel, Lydia.
The bed levelling vessel will work in tandem with the Port’s hydrographic survey team and the David Allan dredger to provide safe, deep-water access to the port.
Port of Newcastle CEO, Craig Carmody, said that the Lydia will enhance the overall efficiency of current dredging operations, while improving post-flood recovery efforts.
“The Lydia will not only improve day-to-day efficiency of our maintenance dredging, but it will play an important role in flood events like the one experienced recently by limiting the amount of sediment that can accumulate on the channel floor,” said Carmody.
“This capability, along with a rapid and pre-emptive response, will reduce the recovery time and impact on shipping movements within the port.”
The Lydia is fitted with a 9-meter, 20 tonne sweeping bar, which is attached by hydraulically operated cables and is designed to level out the channel by pushing material from shallow to deeper areas in sections where dredging has occurred.
The bar can be raised or lowered to the required depth and during flood events can be used to ‘churn-up’ sediment to target areas most prone to silt built-up.
The Lydia will be based at Dyke Point and operate 5 days per week during an initial 6-month trial phase.