BHP Billiton is to improve the reliability and safety of port facilities with a $US240 million investment in six extra tugs and a new eight-pen tug harbour at West Australia’s Port Hedland.
The investment will also include the upgrade of workshop facilities, operational and service berths and two small boat moorings at the existing Nelson Point tug harbour.
BHP Billiton iron ore president, Jimmy Wilson, said the project would mitigate the risk of a channel blockage by ensuring the continued safe escort of vessels in and out of Port Hedland’s Inner Harbour.
“This project will enable BHP Billiton to safely meet projected demand for tug services and effectively manage shipping risk for all users of the Port Hedland port,” he said.
The new tug harbour improves upon previous designs with the facility requiring minimal dredging and marine-based infrastructure and having less environmental and visual impact. Earthworks are scheduled to begin in the December quarter with construction expected to be completed in the September 2016 quarter.