Dredging work completed: positive results and improvements in safety and navigation, as well as deeper operational draft at the berth.
Following on from web news of April 19th, there has been a slight delay to the original dredging programme for the turning basin and berth channel, but now all work is completed with positive results for improvements in safety and navigation, as well as deeper operational draft at the berth.
Ships entering and departing the terminal will now benefit from a minimum water depth of 18.00 m in an extended area (see attached image). The programme of work was performed contemporarily with a second Port Authority programme to further improve operational drafts at the berth. MCT has, since a number of years, operated ships with a draft in the range of 15.50 m. The deepest draft operated to date is 15.80 m, on a ship that called on November 15, 2012.
The dredging programme at the berth now provides from a total of 3,391 m overall, except 461 m length that is assigned at 14.00 m, all other berths are assigned at 15.70 – 16.00 m actual draft, with variable under-keel clearances up to a maximum of 2.00 m. (see adjacent schematic).
Domenico Bagala, MCT Managing Director, explains: “It is not unusual for these kinds of work programmes to experience delays, due to unforeseen circumstances. On this occasion, a number of substantial and hard rock formations proved to be particularly stubborn to remove. But the job has now been done and taking the official sounding charts from the Harbour Master, we now expect a substantially easier manoeuvring – as everyone is fully aware, the bigger ships are now more frequent as well as becoming bigger. Improvements to the turning basin and berth channel will enable the port to increase navigational safety to the existing ULCC ships, as well as ensure the viability of the latest 20,000 TEUs leviathans new building orders in calling at Medcentre, when they are delivered from 2016-17 onwards. The available berth line for deeper draft ships is now enhanced, further improving both the capability and flexibility of assigning berths to the existing calls. The remaining on-going work to strengthen the berth sections and extend the crane rail span continues as scheduled, without impact for our valued customers. These latest investments by the Port Authority will continue to place MCT at the forefront of world class infrastructure league as well as world class benchmark performance levels provided by the MCT team in achieving 3,300 – 3,600 moves per 24 hour period on the mega ships using the terminal”.