Choppy seas prevent mining equipment move

Rough seas in Coffs Harbour prevented the move of mining equipment to Western Australia last weekend.

The Roads and Maritime Service is observing tide and swell conditions to see when the 141-tonne heat exchanger can be moved onto a barge.

Constructed  by Coffs Harbour engineering firm W-E Smith, the heat exchanger and a big barge cannot arrive at the harbour boat ramp if tides exceed 1.4 metres.

The task will be carried out when tide conditions are at their optimum, even if it happens to fall in the middle of the night, the ABC reported.

The heat exchanger has to be moved to the barge, which will then be pulled by tug to Port Kembla, and then moved to a heavy lift ship to transport it to WA.

Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser said attempts are being made to move the 17 metre by eight metre by 6.9 metre steel heat exchanger.

“The series of low tides from late afternoon on Sunday through to Tuesday afternoon will provide the next best opportunity for the delicate operation,” he said.

“Despite the best laid plans for the transfer of the heat exchanger to a barge last Sunday, it was decided there was too much swell for the move ahead.

“A temporary position of harbour master has been created to manage the move on the water with RMS boating safety officers providing on water traffic management, guiding the barge and the tug boats.”

He said around seven hours of wielding will be done to attach the heat exchange to the barge.

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