Clipper Odyssey and Southern Amelia at Sydney Bay Anchorage
Due to Norfolk Island's rugged coastline and the lack of a sheltered anchorage, ships anchor about 1km offshore. Cargo at Norfolk Island is unloaded by the ships derricks into lighters which are then towed ashore by motorised launches.
The Norfolk Island Lighterage Service is a Government Business Enterprise of the Administration of Norfolk Island and provides unloading facilities from ship to shore for cargo and passengers, and provides equipment for sea rescue.
The Lighterage Service operates a fleet of 4 lighters (No.12, No.1, & No.2) and 2 motorised launches (Guppy & Shorts). The lighters are 8m in length and are modelled on whaleboat chasers used earlier in the century. On the jetties a mobile crane with a 16 tonne lifting capacity is used to handle cargo into and out of the lighters. Due to the small size of the lighters standard shipping containers cannot be handled at Norfolk Island. All cargo is handled either as palletised or as unitised breakbulk.
Lighterage operations take place at either Cascade on the northern coastline, and Kingston (Sydney Bay) on the southern coastline, depending on the direction of the wind and swell. The Cascade jetty is approximately 25 metres in length with a depth alongside of 1 metre at low tide. The Kingston jetty is approximately 150 metres in length with a depth alongside of 0.65 metre at low tide. The approach to this jetty from offshore is around the end of the coral reef that extends beyond the jetty by approximately 30 metres. Except in calm conditions a swell of 1-2 metres is usually found at the end of the reef at the entrance to the Kingston jetty.
In the 2007/08 financial year
|The Norfolk Guardian made 10 voyages from Yamba, Australia and 9 voyages from Auckland, New Zealand|
|Lighterage operations worked 15 days from the Kingston jetty and 23 days from the Cascade Jetty.|
|19 days were unsuitable for lighterage operations due to adverse sea conditions at both jetties.|
|24 persons are employed on contract basis for carrying out the unloading of a ship|
|Lighterage charges for cargo moved was $23.60 per cubic metre.|
|Total tonnage for year was 13,433m³|
Over the years many inquiries and reports have been commissioned to look at improvements to cargo handling operations and port facilities at Norfolk Island. Most recently the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and the External Territories Report Delivering the Goods released in February 1995 made a number of recommendations. However successive Australian and Norfolk Island Governments have failed to implement any improvements due to the high costs involved.
Approximately 15,000m3 of cargo is handled by sea to Norfolk Island every year with about half coming from Australia and half from New Zealand. Three shipping lines from Australia and New Zealand operate cargo services to Norfolk Island. The only ship calling at the Island is the Norfolk Guardian that is equipped with 2 hydraulic hiab-type cranes with a 6 tonne lifting capacity.
Neptune Pacific Line operate a monthly service from Yamba with Receiving Depots in Brisbane, Sydney & Melbourne.
Pacific Direct Line operate a monthly service from Auckland, New Zealand.
The only other shipping services operating to Norfolk Island are Fuel and Gas Tankers transporting Bulk Fuel and LPG to the Island. Fuel tankers operated by Total Fiji and chartered to transport Petrol, Jet Fuel, and Diesel in bulk from Noumea & Fiji to the Island. The usual tankers is the Sara Theresa. Gas tankers operated by Boral Gas transport LPG in bulk from Australia to the Island. The usual tankers are Boral Gas and Pacific Gas.
The tankers anchor in Ball Bay, on the eastern coastline of the Island and discharge by pumping through floating pipelines to bulk storage tanks ashore.
There is no regular passenger service to Norfolk Island by sea. Cruise Ships occasionally call at Norfolk Island. All passengers are ferried ashore using either the Ships Tenders or Zodiac inflatables - weather permitting. Our cruise ships page lists dates of cruise ships that have scheduled calls at Norfolk Island
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