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04/02/2021 03:14 PM

Circular Quay: underwater project maintains safe berth for ships

Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) is undergoing a major improvement project to protect and support the wharf and surrounding seabed to ensure the famous terminal maintains a safe berth for ships.  

Port Authority of New South Wales began work in January to prevent the ongoing movement of sediment around the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay, clear accumulated material from the berthing area, and protect the seawall from future erosion. 

Image: Circular Quay, home to the Overseas Passenger Terminal, is one of Australias busiest waterways. 

“To help 6,000 ships navigate safely through the ports of NSW every year, monitoring what goes on below the water is just as important as tracking vessel movements on the water,said Mr Philip Holliday, CEO, Port Authority of NSW. 

“Our hydrographic surveys of the seafloor around the ports of NSW reveal changes caused by natural processes and vessel activity over time, which can change the depths of berths and shipping channels. 

How we map mysteries of Sydney's seafloor

Recent underwater surveys of Circular Quay around the OPT wharf identified increased siltation and a build-up of rocks and sediment — a possible navigational hazard to vessels if not removed. 

The temporary suspension of cruise ships in Sydney gives us a rare window of opportunity to undertake this essential maintenance project with minimal disruption to this very busy waterway.” 

Image: Port Authority’s Hydrographic Survey team create bathymetric charts and 3D images that show the features and depths of the seafloor

Port Authority’s Berthing Infrastructure Project began on 27 January and is scheduled for completion in July 2021. 

The workwill take place in two stages: the first installing an underwater retaining wall from a barge close to the terminal and the second removing the build-up of sand and sediment and installing concrete ‘mattresses’ to protect the OPT wharf from erosion. 

Image: Port Authority’s Berthing Infrastructure Project will ensure the OPT maintains a safe berth for ships

The terminal wharf and restaurants at the OPT, including Cruise Bar, Quay Restaurant, Squire’s Landing and Yukis at the Quay, will remain open during the works. 

During the stage 1 works, Ferry Wharf 6 (West), Commissioners Steps and Harbour Masters Steps will be closed, and ferries and water taxis will use alternative wharfs. Changes to ferry arrangements. will be advised at 

More information is available at 

Port Authority manages the navigation, security and operational safety needs of commercial shipping in the ports of NSW. In Sydney, Port Authority manages cruise infrastructure and facilities at the Overseas Passenger Terminal and White Bay Cruise Terminal, ensuring ships navigate safely to and from berth, providing berthing infrastructure, and managing berth scheduling and security. 

Located in one of Australia’s busiest waterways, Sydney’s historic Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) has welcomed some of the world’s biggest passenger ships since opening in 1960. 

More about the Berthing Infrastructure Project at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal

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