Port of Hobart road closures
As part of TasPorts' ongoing commitment to safety, we will once again take steps to reduce the movement of vehicles at the Port of Hobart on cruise ship visit days during the upcoming season.
TasPorts will close Franklin Wharf between Hunter Street and Constitution Dock Bridge to through traffic on days when cruise ships are in port during the 2023-24 cruise season.
Permit Holders and service vehicles will continue to have controlled access, by way of a guard on duty at all times. Permits must be clearly displayed to ensure access.
These safety measures are critically important given the number of passengers and crew expected this year, and will be similar to those put in place for past cruise ship seasons, ensuring the safety of all pedestrians on Hobart's waterfront.
To assist with outgoing traffic movement in the area, the pedestrian flow will be monitored continuously, and the area re-opened to vehicle traffic as and when it is safe to do so.
Christmas and New Year closures
As per previous years, a 24-hour road closure will also be extended along the waterfront between Monday 18 December 2023 to Thursday 04 January 2024 during the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race and New Year celebrations on the waterfront.
Two-Cruise Ship Policy
Respecting the need to ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of cruise tourism in Tasmania, TasPorts introduced a Two Cruise Ship Policy in 2019 to limit cruise vessel visits to a maximum of two cruise vessels at berth at any one time, within the Port of Hobart.
TasPorts will limit the berthing of cruise ships within the Port of Hobart to two cruise vessels concurrently.
When two cruise vessels are in port, additional cruise vessels may be permitted to anchor, however will not be permitted to tender passengers ashore, other than for safety reasons.
Allowable under this Policy, subsequent vessels are permitted to arrive in port on the same date, following the departure of other cruise vessels, on the provision that there are no more than two cruise ships at berth within the Port of Hobart at any given time.
This Policy recognises that small home port expedition vessels, such as Coral Expeditions' Coral Discoverer vessel, are exempt from the Policy. These vessels carry less than 100 passengers and are undertaking port calls in order to carry out turnaround and resupply operations whereby passengers permanently disembark the vessel after completing their cruise, prior to new passengers boarding later in the day to commence a new cruise.
The Tasmanian Government is developing advice to support safe cruising in Tasmania. This advice will align with the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care (AHPPC) statement.
This advice, along with specific Tasmanian operational expectations for cruise ships will be available on the Tasmanian Government Department of Health website.
Air emissions management
On 1 January 2020, new International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations were introduced which reduced the global upper limit on the sulphur content of ships' fuel oil from 3.50% to 0.50%. This new limit represents an 85% drop in overall sulphur fuel emissions from ships internationally.
The new regulations are aimed at improving the air quality of our ports and local communities around Tasmania.
To achieve this new standard, vessels visiting our ports are using a variety of methods, including switching to low sulphur fuels or operating exhaust gas cleaning systems, also known as 'scrubbers'.
Scrubbers remove sulpher oxides from the ship's engine and boiler exhaust gases, thus enabling vessels to continue using heavy fuel oil. In use, some scrubbers can produce steam as a by-product, which is released into the atmosphere through the vessel's exhausts. In some instances, this steam may have the visual appearance of smoke.
The relevant regulatory body responsible for checking compliance with this sulphur limit is the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). A list of historical compliance checks completed by the AMSA on cruise ships visiting Tasmania can be found on the AMSA website.
Air quality monitoring
Over several years of monitoring, from 2017 and 2020, levels of sulphur dioxide were always well below the relevant national standards.
A report on the results obtained over the monitoring period can be found on the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Tasmania website.
The EPA has advised TasPorts that it is not intending to continue with any air quality monitoring at the Port of Hobart for the 2023-24 season.
In 2020, TasPorts implemented an Environmental Noise Standard to proactively manage noise across all our ports.
The Standard establishes what types of noise-generating activities are acceptable and suitable times for those activities to occur for all port users planning to undertake, or currently undertaking, port activities.
The main objective of the Standard is to ensure that noise and vibration-generating activities undertaken within our facilities, are planned and conducted in a manner that prevents environmental nuisance or environmental harm.
In regards to cruise ships, the Standard also sets out the permissible hours of use for activities such as the use of a ship's horn while in port and non-safety related external announcements, or audio entertainment (e.g. open air cinemas or music on deck) while in port limits.
Ships are prohibited from discharging sewage and grey water within port waters. The discharge of sewage into the sea is prohibited, except when the ship has in operation an approved sewage treatment system at a distance of more than three nautical miles from the nearest land.
The discharge of sewage from vessels at sea is regulated by the United Nations International Maritime Organisation Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Annex IV).
The regulations mandate controls relating to the ships' equipment and systems for the control of sewage discharge, the provision of port reception facilities for sewage, and requirements for survey and certification.
Issues or concerns
Adverse weather and cruise cancellations
Adverse weather conditions can sometimes impact scheduled cruise ship visits to our ports. While unfortunate, these decisions are not taken lightly, and TasPorts’ obligations will always be to marine safety, protection of infrastructure assets and the environment.
This is how the decision is made:
The Marine and Safety (Pilotage and Navigation) Regulations 2017 requires the attending Marine Pilot and Master of a vessel to make an assessment of a vessel’s planned passage into a port or anchorage and in doing so, take into account the following factors in order to make a safety-based decision of when or whether to attempt an arrival or departure.
This decision-making process involves using all available means of assessment for different types of ships and is based on but not limited to the following:
- The prevailing and predicted Wind strength and direction.
- The prevailing and predicted swell both offshore at the Pilot Boarding Ground and in the harbour itself alongside the berth.
- The probable risk of a ship ‘ranging’ up and down the berth causing significant infrastructure and berth damage and snapping/parting mooring lines resulting in damage to ships passenger transfer arrangements and ships gangways.
- The safety of passenger transfer arrangements and gangways when exposed to the movement as detailed in point 3 resulting in the increased risk being transferred onto the safe movement of passengers.
- The safety of shore and ship-based personnel when ships mooring lines are being handled during the times that the ships are being tied up and let go.
- The safe operating conditions of the attending tugs.
- The safe operating conditions for the attending Pilot Vessel and the ability to conduct a safe marine pilot transfer.
- The historical records and experience of the decision makers where the known risks have presented themselves previously and incidents have occurred involving mooring lines snapping/parting and the ships moving or ranging alongside the berth damaging ships passenger transfer arrangements and gangways.