Port Botany is one of Australia’s busiest container ports servicing the largest population center in the country. As an open ocean port, it is frequently subject to rough wind and wave conditions from the Pacific Ocean, posing restrictions on safe navigation and vessel underkeel clearance (UKC).
Previous port operations relied on a more simplistic treatment of UKC sometimes resulting in delays and additional costs to the ports customers. With the growth of vessel sizes and draft in recent years, the Port has recognised the need to use the best possible technology to assure that vessel traffic can prevail safely and efficiently even during times of rough weather.
A recent example of this need was demonstrated during the July 2020 ECL that pummelled the southeast Australian coast for several days. The storm produced huge swells over 6 metres offshore with gusting winds up to 46 knots. Under the limitation of previous port rules, such conditions would have exceeded allowable thresholds for safe passing for several vessels and introduced delays in the supply chain.