Wharf Crane at Flying Fish Cove

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Number: D14/2017

Date: 23 March 2017

Relevant: Christmas Island

Topic: Wharf Crane at Flying Fish Cove

As the community is aware, in mid-February the wharf crane at Flying Fish Cove experienced a fault in its “slew bearing”: a critical component that enables the crane to rotate.

The Port Manager has ordered a new slew bearing and this is expected to be delivered to Christmas Island by mid-June 2017, with repairs expected to return the wharf crane to service by July 2017.

The Department acknowledges the impact the port outage has had on the community and is committed to returning the port to normal operations as soon as possible.

During the community meeting on 6 March 2017, Minister Nash announced the Department would cover the expected additional unloading costs on Christmas Island for the next Zentner cargo vessel.

While disruption to cargo vessels is not uncommon during swell season, the Department is aware of community concerns about stocks at supermarkets and the delivery of booked cargo. The Port Manager and the Department are working to minimise the impact on freight services. This includes:

    • Short-term: working with Phosphate Resources Limited (PRL) to make its 100 tonne hydraulic crane available for off-loading cargo vessels;
    • Air Freight: engaging weekly with Freightshop and Virgin Australia to assess demand for additional air freight, based on air freight bookings made by Christmas Island businesses and the community;
    • Medium-term: assessing options to purchase or hire a mobile crane to support interim port operations and provide a backup in the future; and
    • Long-term: the Department has engaged GHD Pty Ltd to provide advice on options for replacement of the wharf crane and mooring systems at Christmas Island Port.

I look forward to providing you with further updates on the crane repairs and any interim arrangements.

Karly Pidgeon
General Manager
Indian Ocean Territories