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Hot Port news from GAC

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Queensland/New South Wales, Australia


Tropical Cyclone Oma
Thursday, February 21, 2019, Queensland/New South Wales, Australia

A Cyclone Watch has been issued for coastal parts of southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales with Gales developing as Intensity 2 Tropical Cyclone Oma approaches. The Watch Zone covers Bundaberg to Ballina, including Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.

At 10:00am AEST, Oma was a Category 2 tropical cyclone with sustained winds near the centre of 95km per hour and gusts up to 130km per hour. It was located within 35km of 22.6 deg. South/160.0 deg. East, 890km northeast of Brisbane and 820km east northeast of Bundaberg, moving southwest at 11km per hour.

Tropical Cyclone Oma is expected to continue moving in a general southwesterly direction towards the southeast Queensland coast during today and tomorrow (21 & 22 February), whilst maintaining category 2 intensity. Oma’s motion becomes slow moving during Saturday but is then expected to track in a more north or northwest direction, remaining offshore through the weekend. Although Oma is not expected to make landfall in the coming days it will be close enough to produce direct impacts along the Queensland and New South Wales coast.

Abnormally high tides and dangerous surf conditions are expected along the southern Queensland coast over the next few days and into early next week. Seas and swell are expected to increase well ahead of the approach of Oma with dangerous surf developing about the east coast of Fraser Island and Wide Bay coast north or Bargara later this afternoon and evening. These conditions are then expected to extend south over the remaining southeastern Queensland coast and northern New South Wales coast during this evening and Friday.

Severe Weather Warnings for Abnormally High Tides and Dangerous Surf are current. A Hazardous Surf Warning is also current.

Gale force winds are expected to develop along exposed coastal areas of southern Queensland during Friday well ahead of Oma, and may extend into coastal parts of Northern New South Wales on Saturday.

The system will lead to a significant increase in seas and swells over southern Queensland waters mid to late this week, followed by the possibility of increasing winds and rainfall about the southeast over the weekend. Oma could also lead to gales and damaging wind gusts developing about the southern coast from Friday, with possible heavy falls from Saturday.

Oma is currently well to the north east of Gladstone, but tracking in a generally south west direction. Regardless of the final track of the cyclone at the very least the sea and swell conditions off the coast will increase significantly in the next few days.
The Gladstone Region severe weather contingency plan – https://publications.qld.gov.au/dataset/maritime-safety-extreme-weather-contingency-plans/resource/aa6cfe06-c22b-4c82-93a0-e5e0828d42f6 – will be enacted if a cyclone warning is issued for the region.
Based on the current weather forecast the following measures are to be implemented as a minimum for all ports in the Gladstone Region from 1200 local time, Thursday 21 February 2019:
– Vessels at anchor to bring their main engines to standby, ballast down and be prepared to depart the anchorage at immediate notice.
– Vessels at berth are to run additional mooring lines and maintain a continuous watch on mooring lines.
– Vessels at berth are to be ready to cease cargo operations and depart the port with little notice.
– Vessels directed to depart the port and anchorages are to ensure they proceed to sea and not remain within the confines of the Great Barrier Reef.
Port stakeholders will need to continue preparation and review shipping schedules appropriate for the severe weather conditions ahead. With both swell and wind conditions all arrivals and departures are under review. There is expected to be only minimal, if any, movements scheduled for the period from sunset tonight (Thursday) until early Monday sunrise.
A high energy swell event with large and power sea conditions including gale force winds generated by Oma is forecast to effect South East Queensland Coastal Waters today and continue into this weekend. This will affect ships requiring Under Keel Clearance windows in the North West Channel as swell conditions increase. As the cyclone approaches the coast, high windage ships such as passenger ships, container ships and vehicle carriers could also be affected.
Brisbane VTS warn about the implications of tropical cyclone Oma and possible significant disruption to port activities, such as:
– Swell conditions at Point Cartwright in the range of 6-8m or more and Gale Warnings / Severe Gale Warnings for South East Queensland, including Moreton Bay.
– Potential intermittent suspension of pilotage transfers at Point Cartwright as waves heights and wind speeds reach their peak.
– Point Cartwright anchorage now closed.
– Brisbane Roads anchorage now closed.
– Deep draft ships can expect Under Keel Clearance (NCOS) windows to close.
– Tidal windows will be required for all ships over 11.5m draft from Wednesday AM.
– High windage ships may not be able to berth securely due to beam winds and therefore may be rescheduled to call once winds abate.
For the latest updates and information about operations in Australia contact GAC Australia at shipping.australia@gac.com

Work-Free Day declared ahead of elections
Thursday, February 21, 2019, Nigeria

The Federal Government of Nigeria has declared tomorrow, Friday 22 February, a Work-Free Day to enable Nigerians prepare for the Presidential and National Assembly Elections on Saturday 23 February.

The GAC Nigeria office will therefore be closed. Normal work will resume on Monday 25 February.

For information about operations in Nigeria, contact GAC Nigeria at nigeria@gac.com

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