Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Airport Runway Development Will Cause Disruption at Sea

Multi-Billion Dollar Project Gets Under Way
Shipping News Feature
HONG KONG – The $18 billion (HK$142 billion) project to expand the international airport which projects off Chep Lak Kok island into the South China Sea, is now getting under way with the release this week by the Government's SAR Marine Department of an update to last year's notice 38. The Master Plan is to reclaim more land and have three working runways for freight and passenger aircraft by 2024 and extensive marine works are about to begin. Vessels navigating in the vicinity should proceed with caution.

The full extent of the areas concerned can be seen in the form of notice 47 of March 2019 and the whole perimeter of the works area will be contained within a wall of silt curtains. These are constructed of netting used to contain mud and sediments with a boundary marked by a string of yellow flashing lights atop yellow marker buoys. Chep Lak Kok island was itself constructed from reclaimed land.

The works will be carried out by a flotilla of special purpose vessels including drilling barges, cutter suction dredgers, spreader pontoons, sand pumping and deep cement mixing barges, and other types of vessels including derrick lighters, flat top and hopper barges, dry cargo vessels and jack-up platforms at various stages. Some tugboats, work boats, guard boats and self-propelled delivery barges will provide assistance. The number and types of vessels engaged in the works will change from time to time to suit operational requirements.

A working area of approximately 150 metres will be established around each special purpose vessel and similarly a working area of 50 metres again will be established around each derrick lighter and flat top barge with yellow marker buoys fitted with yellow flashing lights again laid to mark the positions of the anchors extending from these craft and to mark the corners of the jack-up platforms.

This is to be a round-the-clock operation with the vessels engaged displaying signals as prescribed in international and local regulations. Water depths at the works areas will be reduced and there will be intermittent diving operations whilst, to safeguard the marine works operations and ensure navigational safety, guard boats will station in the works area and patrol the waters in the vicinity to give necessary guidance to the vessels approaching the works area.