Port Hedland Tug Harbour


Port Hedland, Western Australia





Project Summary

BHP identified a requirement to increase towage services to support operations in Port Hedland in preparation of planned future expansion of iron export capacity through Port Hedland and to mitigate the risk of a vessel running aground and blocking the Port Hedland departure channel.

The project, D&C contract value $96m, involved a new development at Hunt Point and upgrade to the existing facility at Nelson Point.

The Hunt Point development involved:

  • excavation of a new harbour within the existing dredge material management area;
  • construction of 4 pontoons providing cyclone; berths for up to 8 new RAstar 85 Escort tugs (1065t displacement);
  • a fifth pontoon providing 4 berths for small boats;
  • piled seawalls either side of entrance channel to reduce cyclone wave penetration; and
  • rock batters around the perimeter of the harbour

The existing tug harbour at Nelson Point has been upgraded with 2 new pontoons installed adjacent to the existing service jetty to provide bunkering services to the tugs. A davit crane capable of lifting 3.6t at 12.5m radius has also been installed to support maintenance operations.

Madsen Giersing (MG) was engaged by the principal contractor Lendlease to provide the detailed design and technical support services for the project. MG’s scope was the design of the marine and coastal protection structures.

The tug pontoons are 52m long and 5.85m wide steel pontoons restrained by 8 tubular steel piles and 37m long steel gangways with a maximum slope of 1:4 across the 7.5m tidal range with two dual Yokohama ABF-P fenders for each berth. The design included detailed dynamic mooring simulations of the cyclone mooring arrangement by a sub-consultant International Maritime Consultants (IMC).

Mooring line hangers, mooring line reels, bollards, snap back guards and rotating access brows have been provided on the deck of the pontoons. Day-night leading marks and navigation aids atop the piled seawalls have been installed to guide vessels entering the harbour.