SIMULATION testing has revealed that some of the world’s largest cruise liners could safely dock at the proposed Gold Coast Cruise Ship Terminal in the Southport Broadwater.
It also has found that the new facility will be one of the quickest ports in Australia to access for cruise operators who are hungry for new destinations in what has become a rapidly expanding leisure market.
The testing shows that the Queen Mary 2, which is 345 metres long and has a draft of 10.1 metres, could navigate into and out of the Wave Break Island docking point.
The even larger, but shallower, Oasis of the Seas at 361.6 metres, has also been successfully tested.
According to John Shepherd, a former board member of Brisbane Cruise Ship Terminal, the Broadwater’s capacity will allow even bigger ships to dock at the Gold Coast than Brisbane could handle.
“The Gold Coast will also be the only dedicated cruise ship terminal on the east coast, other than Sydney, that can accommodate larger cruise ships,” he says.
“With a swing basin larger than both Circular Quay and Brisbane’s Hamilton port, the terminal will be favoured by operators for its ease of navigation.”
Shepherd says the simulations show that the ships could safely access Wave Break Island in most tidal and wave conditions under sustained wind speeds of 30 knots.
Port entry times have been calculated at 30 to 45 minutes for ships, compared to around five hours for vessels heading to Brisbane’s Fisherman Island terminal, and six hours for those heading upstream to Hamilton.
It takes a ship about 90 minutes to manoeuvre into Sydney’s Circular Quay.
The simulator testing was conducted earlier this month by Smartship Australia, with the assistance of Meridian Maritime Services, Maritime Safety Queensland and Brisbane Marine Pilots.
The Gold Coast cruise ship terminal is proposed by ASF Consortium, a group backed by Chinese interests who are planning to develop the facility as part of a $7.5 billion integrated casino-resort project on Wave Break Island.
ASF has previously forecast the project could generate $8.9 billion a year in new tourism spending alone and 12,275 new jobs by 2028.
The project, should it get final approval, could be talking its first cruise ships before the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Shepherd says the Gold Coast terminal could score 15 per cent of the Australian cruise ship market from the outset, with the industry carrying 600,000 passengers in 2012.
“When you consider that Tourism Australia expects expenditure growth in the 2013-14 year to be over 15 per cent, then the Gold Coast cruise ship terminal can provide additional capacity and new adventures for cruise ship operators and their guests into a growing market,” he says.
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