The Hydrographic Excellence Award, which has replaced the Commission’s previous Hydrographic Safety Representative Award, recognises those individuals or teams working across the various hydrographic disciplines who have made an outstanding contribution to the science of hydrography. The award for 2017 will be shared between Pilbara Ports Authority and Precision Hydrographic Services in recognition of the application, promotion and implementation of advanced hydrographic practice in the tidal study project conducted to support the Port of Port Headland.
In assessing the nominations for this year’s excellence award, the Commission’s Awards Committee considered the 2012/2013 tidal project, undertaken by the Pilbara Ports Authority Marine Operations team in collaboration with contracted personnel from Precision Hydrographic Services, best satisfied the award’s selection criteria. In particular, the Committee noted the innovative approach adopted in undertaking the survey along and the benefits gained, along with the contribution the project has made in promoting the hydrographic discipline.
In gaining a better understanding of the port’s tidal regimes this important project has enabled long-standing charting inconsistencies and depth anomalies along the entrance channel to be corrected. Further, the project has helped refine the Authority’s dynamic vessel under keel clearance management system for the port which in turn, has enabled efficiencies to be made in vessel movements and for vessel loading operations to be optimised. The benefits of this project have enabled the draughts of vessels loading at the Port of Port Headland to be safely increased with a concomitant expansion of sailing windows into periods normally restricted due to the tide/draught relationship.
The results of this project have facilitated a notable increase in the port’s annual throughput which is likely to result in significant regional and national economic benefits over the short to medium term.
This project was recently recognised through the Western Australia 2015 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management. Moreover, the manner in which the hydrographic survey was conducted and the methodology underpinning the tidal study component have since been acknowledged by the Australian Hydrographic Office. The project has since been promoted as reflecting hydrographic best practice in efforts to develop robust survey standards to guide the conduct of hydrographic surveys by other port authorities for the ongoing maintenance of navigation safety.