It seems to me that Kevin Chambers has sought to debase my letter (Sentinel-Times, June 3) and ridicule me (Sentinel-Times, June 11).
I did not seek to engage in debate, Kevin. Sorry. Pragmatism is the go!
The purpose of my letter was to raise the spectre of inevitability of a large container operation in Western Port. The outcome is of no real concern to me.
That said, I would like to see the health of the bay improved.
We might support (Doctor Mangrove) Dr Tim Ealey in his quest to repair the loss of mangroves. See ‘Westernport Seagrass Alliance’ on Google.
Aquatic life would be the big winner if the mud could be reduced from the water column.
Seagrass health, improved fish breeding, and better fishing should follow the re-establishment of mangroves. It does not necessarily follow that dredging will make turbidity worse, particularly in the longer term. That is all another argument.
It may be, Kevin, that I went to sea as a steward in the 1960s.
No offence to stewards, but it is not normally required that they should read a marine chart, but easy for any crew member to see the cargo and its changing delivery.
My ability to read a marine chart (not practiced for many years) is possibly better than Kevin’s ability to dispassionately read a letter in the newspaper?
I believe the Western Port shipping channel is maintained at 14.6 metres to #31 buoy. Ships variously use 10 per cent draft or a metre under keel and, with the addition of the high tide, tankers of up to 150,000 tonnes can safely use the old BP oil berth at 15.8 metres. Blah! Blah! Blah!
We might leave that job to the PPS Pilots. The point is that the harbour has a deep water approach.
Most of the world’s large container ports seem happy with 14.5 to 15m. I wonder why 18 metres is required in Kevin’s Western Port?
Large container ships are indeed very large, but they are not ‘monsters’.
Their draft is generally reduced by their large beam. They have been around for a while and they are a response to the demands of consumers.
Generally speaking they are benign, but like the rest of our presence on this planet, yes, there is risk to be managed.
Perhaps the real intention is to use Hastings for heavy bulk cargo which could involve deeper draft vessels (not just container ships)?
Test drilling, which is apparently underway, will determine whether it is economic to dredge the berthing end of things at Hastings. Dredge spoil can possibly be delivered on shore where the land is low lying.
Thank you, Kevin, for the reference to Webb Dock’s current expansion. I was not aware of the recent proposal.
I imagine that the citizens of Sandridge were persuaded (perhaps through a local engagement group?) to allow the renovation and extra berth, which is a small part of the proposed expansion which was most definitely rejected in the late ‘80s.
The addition of walking paths and parkland may have swayed the decision. The website seems designed to appeal to neighbours rather than commercial users of the dock.
My free advice to Kevin is “form a negotiating team instead of a protest group”. Talk to the CEO of Hastings and those in government who will ultimately make the decisions.
There is also the thought that when the November election has passed, Western Port will revert to a sleepy muddy backwater with potential, and in time, with global warming, the sea could inundate the lot.
Whatever the outcome now, the pressure from the big smoke to have the port relocated remains.
Peter Brown, Glen Forbes.