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Partnership boost to channel safety

A partnership between the Newman Government and mining company MMG Century is improving shipping safety in the State’s far north.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the partnership would deliver the next generation of navigation lights for the gulf port of Karumba.

“The $60,000 high intensity LED lights at the entrance to the Norman River Channel were funded by MMG as a safety contribution to the local community with ownership passed on to Maritime Safety Queensland,” Mr Emerson said.

“With the state gearing up in readiness for another severe weather season, this project is especially timely.

“The new navigation lights were shown to be effective at other Queensland Ports, including at Weipa and Cairns.

“They replace older lights which were becoming difficult and expensive to maintain and had the potential to create serious problems for commercial and recreational vessels accessing the port channel.

“This upgrade will also help recreational boaties, commercial fisherman and other channel users stay safe on the water.”

MMG Century’s Port Operations Manager Ross Byers said he was pleased to see the new lights going into action.

“Our 5,000 tonne vessel, MV Wunma, transfers mining product through the port to ships anchored in the Gulf which then go on to smelters in Australia, Asia and Europe,” Mr Byers said.

Marine officers Bruce Hansford, Geoff Moore and Don Cowie who installed the lights were pleased to see a pair of sea eagles nesting on top of one of the beacon pylons.

“It’s a great vantage point for hunting fish and by scaring off other birds they reduce fouling on the solar panels which cuts down maintenance calls for us,” Don Cowie said.