Tasmanian Government Press Release
Freycinet 55ft Ocean-going Rescue Vessel
David Llewellyn, Member for Lyons, today presented the St Helens Marine Rescue Association of Tasmania with the recently decommissioned Police Vessel, Freycinet.
“Although the Freycinet is 29 years old, it has been meticulously maintained and will greatly enhance the St Helens Marine Rescue Association’s capabilities and ongoing operations,” Mr Llewellyn said.
“The Freycinet will expand the rescue capabilities of the group with its range of 500 nautical miles, radar and an array of navigational equipment.
“I am pleased that this hard-working group of volunteers is able to take on such a reliable and sturdy vessel. It should provide years of service.
“The St Helens Marine Rescue Association is to be congratulated for its dedication to the safety and security of the maritime community.”
The Freycinet will provide the St Helens Marine Rescue Association with a rescue vessel that has greater capabilities and operating range than its former vessel, the Sea Guardian. It was originally part of the former Tasmania Fisheries Development Authority and was transferred to Tasmania Police in 1985.
Further information: Tasmanian Government Communications Unit
Two big excavators moving sand at Blanche Beach (photo:Rose Grant)
Marine and Safety Tasmania CEO, Colin Finch was interviewed by ABC Rural today at Blanche Beach, where dredging to remove 215,000 cubic metres of sand is almost complete. The sand is being moved from a major deposition area alongside the rock training wall to the back of the dune system in Georges Bay.
Listen to interview (MP3)
Dredging to remove 215,000 cubic metres of sand from Blanche Beach near St Helens | Photographer: | Rose Grant
Works are are currently underway to remove sand from Blanche Beach. The project follows an earlier recommendation that sand be removed from Blanche Beach to help improve the conditions on the barway by allowing sand on the offshore bar to move ashore onto the beach.
Providing space on the beach for sand accumulation is also expected to reduce the amount of sand that is currently entering Georges Bay and accumulating on the shoals such as Pelican Point.
The works consist of excavating sand from Blanche Beach and transporting this sand to the low-lying areas behind the dunes. The work is being undertaken in accordance with an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) commissioned by Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST). One of the requirements of the EMP is that works should not be undertaken between September and April when some migratory bird species nest on Blanche Beach. Works on the beach are expected to be completed by 31 August 2009. Work away from the beach may continue until mid-September.
While it is hoped that the removal of sand from the beach will improve conditions at the barway and minimise the amount of new sand entering Georges Bay, it will not reduce the shoals that already exist inside the entrance. As a result, preliminary work is also underway on assessments and approvals for dredging at Pelican Point where the shoals have become an obstacle to vessels entering Georges Bay.
Further queries can be directed to Justin Foster at MAST by phoning (03) 6233 8818.
(From the Break O’Day Council newsletter, Winter 2009)
Marine Safety Tasmania’s Strategic Plan for 2009/2010 makes provision for dredging work to improve access and safety across the St Helens Barway into Georges Bay:
“In the 2008 State Budget the Government announced a $2.4 million dollar funding package to improve access over the Georges Bay barway at St Helens.
This package follows an extensive program of consultation with the Break O’Day Council and local stakeholders from the commercial fishing and charter boat industries, recreational game fishers and recreational boaters. It is based on extensive technical advice on the causes of the problems at the barway and the options for improving access.
The improvement strategy is twofold. The first phase of the strategy is to try and remove the sand that is feeding the barway by taking up to 200,000 cubic metres of sand from Blanche Beach behind the rock training wall. The necessary environmental and planning approvals for the removal of sand was obtained in May 2009 and the construction works should be completed by August 2009.
The second phase is to carry out a program of dredging at Pelican Point within Georges Bay to remove the shoal within the main navigation channel. In May 2009 it became clear that environmental approval for a dredging process that involved placing dredge spoil at Pelican Point was unlikely to be granted. This means that MAST will revert to the “prop wash dredging” process that was carried out in 2006.
The steps required to implement the second phase of this project are to:
Prepare tender documents for the “prop wash” dredging.
Let the contract for dredging.
Monitor the effectiveness of the removal of sand from Blanche Beach and the dredging operations at Pelican point.
Determine if there are alternative options that may be required to maintain a navigable channel at Pelican Point.
In 2009/10 MAST will continue to develop a safe system to maintain access for vessels to St Helens through Georges Bay by:
Completion of the removal of sand from Blanche Beach by 15 September 2009.
Prepare tender documents for the “prop wash” dredging by 31 July 2009.
Let the contract for dredging by 31 August 2009.
Monitor the effectiveness of the removal of sand from Blanche Beach and the dredging operations at Pelican Point by a series of quarterly audits.
Determine if there are alternative options available to maintain a navigable channel at Pelican Point by 31 March 2010.
Marine Safety Tasmania has published a report titled “St Helens Barway Review & Update of Options“.
Coastal Engineering Solutions Pty Ltd (CES) was engaged by MAST to undertake a review of previous studies of The Barway at St Helens. The two primary outcomes required from the study are:
Provide an opinion about the navigability of the barway and the channels within the
entrance over the next five years without any intervention.
Provide recommendations of long term solutions for improving navigation at the bar
and entrance channels.
The report concluded that:
- Removal of sand from the beach to the east of the training wall is essential to prevent further build up of sand on the bars and shoals seaward of the training wall.
St Helens will never be an all-weather port. The the limiting wave condition at The Barway for safe navigation is when the wave height in deeper water (7 metre depth) seaward of the bar is 1 metre. Even a channel depth maintained at -3 metres (LWD) may be difficult to navigate at times.
Dredging of the barway can be undertaken using either agitation dredging or a suction dredge.
Dredging of the shoals at Pelican Point can be undertaken using agitation dredging, sidecasting dredging with a suction dredge or by employing a small cutter suction dredge, if available.
Environmental approvals would need to be obtained for any dredging operations.