Home' Ausmarine : November 2009 Contents November 2009 AUSMARINE
The waters of Cockburn Sound, sheltered by Garden and
Carnac Islands and Stragglers Reef, are all either naval waters
or within the Fremantle Port boundaries -- except for the small
area known as Jervoise Bay. This, for historical reasons, is part
of the Port of Perth, and within it is the waterfront of
Henderson, the centre of Western Australia's marine industry.
It was the centre before Western Australia became the world's
leading builder of lightweight, high-speed ferries; it passed
on the heritage of the world's only significant high-speed fishing
fleet. In the opinion of many, the move from plywood to
aluminium for lobster boat construction was the catalyst for the
ferry-building industry. Techniques were transferable from one
medium to another, and there was no history of steel
construction to be unlearned.
Henderson is not Western Australia's only boat building centre.
Geraldton, the state's lobster fishing capital, has produced large
numbers of innovative and successful aluminium vessels, and one
of the most prolific design houses: Southerly Designs. Mark
Millman Marine, Fine Entry Marine, Western Boat Builders and
others have between them built hundreds of high speed fishing
vessels, patrol boats, charter boats and work boats, and the last
named spawned one of Australia's most successful builders --
Henderson's Strategic Marine.
The waters of Fremantle Port surround the Henderson complex,
and it is the port from which small to medium sized vessels are
exported on heavy-lift ships. Fremantle handles 99 percent of the
state's container traffic and curiously, although bulk grain is
handled in the outer harbour near Henderson, at times it is also
exported in containers.
The Port is about to undergo an extensive dredging project to
accommodate the larger container ships being introduced on the
Australia run. Average size has grown 85 percent over the past 15
years, and now the first post-Panamax ships are arriving. It is
critical that every port on a route can accommodate the larger
ships fully loaded or it will be bypassed. If that happened to
Fremantle, containers for Fremantle might be dropped off in
Singapore and brought down by smaller ships, increasing
Currently the inner harbour can accept a maximum draught of
12.8 metres. Dredging will increase this to 14 metres, and at the
same time the deepwater channel will be re-aligned and also
dredged. The last deepening in 1989 provided the material for the
marine industrial area at Rouse Head, and this time the spoil will
create a 27-hectare extension to the reclamation. One berth on the
North Quay is being rebuilt to allow its use for container shipping,
and six others already in use are being strengthened to handle
Accepting larger ships does not just mean the same number of
slots in fewer ships; there will be an extra 20 percent of slots
available -- valuable in a port whose ten-year annual growth rate
has been nine percent.
As is now usual in projects of this size, planning and gaining
the necessary approvals took a great deal longer than the
construction and dredging itself -- which should be complete
before the end of 2010.
The port adopted an ingenious technique to minimise
dredge idle time during shipping movements. Pilots and
dredge masters worked together on the simulator to ascertain
minimum safe clearances, resulting in a reduction of 25 percent
in idle time.
View of the Fremantle Port
Links Archive October 2009 December 2009 Navigation Previous Page Next Page