Queen Elizabeth

rainbow over princess Royal Harbour


Identifying Marine Slicks -Oil or Algae?

Some Frequently asked questions

What are the Ports environmental responsibilities?

Under both the WA Port Authorities Act 1999 and the Environmental Protection Act 1986, the Albany Port is required to protect the environment of the port and minimise the impact of port activities on that environment. Through its Environmental Management Plan and Environmental Policy, the Port ensures that all reasonable steps are taken to minimise the impact on the harbour.

Does the Port hold an Environmental License?

No. The Port of Albany is no longer a Prescribed Premises and is not required to hold an Environmental Licence. However, leaseholders AustSand and Albany Bulk Handling do hold Environmental licences.

Does the port have an Environmental Management Plan?

Yes. The Port's EMP covers all aspects of the ports operations and outlines the development standards with which leaseholders must comply. The plan ensures that environmental factors such as noise, dust and stormwater are considered in port planning, development and operation. Y

What measures are in place to make sure that port operators and leaseholders operate in an environmentally friendly manner?

Leaseholders and operators at the Port have lease and license agreements which specify that all relevant environmental, occupational health and safety legislation must be complied with. If found to be in breach of these conditions, action can be taken by the Port as well as other environmental regulators such as the Department of Environment and Conservation.

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Why do ships release water while at anchor or at berth?

When at anchor in King George Sound, ships release water in what is known as "anchor wash". Anchor wash is used to clean the muddy anchor during its retrieval as well as to cool machinery related to the ships anchorage system. At the Port's berth, ballast water is discharged during the loading of the ship. Often when ships are in ballast, the cooling water for the ship's generators can also be seen discharging.

What does the Port do to prevent marine pests being introduced via ballast water?

All ports in Australia rely on the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) process to prevent marine pest incursions. Every international vessel is required to exchange ballast water while at sea, so that any ballast water discharged at the port originates from the region. Vessels must supply ballast exchange information to AQIS before permission to berth is granted. On a vessels arrival, audits are then carried out by AQIS. A new national system to manage the risk of introduced marine species from domestic voyages within Australia is being developed by the Federal Government in association with all State Governments through an Intergovernmental Agreement. The Designated Management Authority for introduced marine species in Western Australia is the Department of Fisheries.

Are ships allowed to discharge waste water or sewerage into the harbour?

No. The discharge of wastes into the harbour by commercial vessels is prohibited. All ships have holding tanks and discharge waste while at sea in accordance with the international MARPOL convention to prevent marine pollution.

What happens if oil is spilt from a ship or from the wharf?

Oil spills are extremely rare at the Albany Port. In the event of an incident, the Harbour Master enacts the Port's Oil Spill Contingency and Emergency Response Plan. To prepare for oil spills, the Albany Port runs regular training and exercise programs in conjunction with the Department of Transport.

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What are the lines that resemble slicks in the harbour?

Sometimes bands of water resembling slicks form due to wind, tidal conditions or variations in water temperature. Fresh water entering the harbour may have the same effect. Sometimes dust from grain loading activity settles on the water and also causes what looks like a slick. When conditions are conductive, typically in the warmer months, blue green algae can proliferate and take on the appearance of a slick. See 'Identifying Marine Slicks' for more detail.

Does the Port undertake any dredging?

Maintenance dredging is sometimes required to retain safe depths at both berths and the channel. In the case of new developments and large projects, capital dredging and reclamation is also a requirement. Capital dredging is a vital part of port development and a common activity in ports around the world. All dredging complies with the requirements set by the State Environmental Protection Authority, and the Commonwealth Department of Environment.

What happens to dredge spoil at the port?

The use of dredge spoil depends on the type of material that has been dredged. Dredge spoil is sometimes used to reclaim areas of land (such as the current woodchip berth) and as landfill. When there is too much spoil to dispose of on land it must be disposed of at sea. Applications to the Commonwealth must be made before dredge spoil is disposed at sea.

Does dust from the silica sand stockpile pose a health risk?

No. All silica sand at the Albany Port has been processed at the mine site to omit the size class fraction that poses a risk to human health, and therefore is safe to store and transport.

What measures are in place to prevent fertiliser spilling into the harbour during discharge?

Modern techniques have drastically reduced the incidence of fertiliser spilling into the harbour from a berthed ship. A highly effective containment system catches the bulk of any spill, and strict clean up procedures are observed both on board the vessel and on the wharf. Under no circumstances may fertiliser be deliberately washed into the harbour from a berthed ship.

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What is used to treat the grain for insects at the Albany Terminal?

Cooperative Bulk Handling uses the fumigant phosphine to treat grain for insects prior to shipping as required. As phosphine is a non-residual gas, Western Australian grain growers are able to maintain a 'clean and green' marketing status with international customers, giving WA an edge over competitors who use contact pesticides. Phosphine is used throughout the grain growing network in Western Australia, on farms and in grain storages. Its use is strictly controlled and monitored, and at CBH, only licensed fumigators are able to administer the product. For more information on how fumigants are used at the CBH facility please contact CBH directly on telephone 9845 5555.

Are chemicals used to treat woodchips stored at the port?

No fumigants are used at all on the woodchips stored at the port.

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What is the port doing to control environmental weeds on its site?

Under its Weed Management Strategy, the Albany Port is driving a two-pronged approach to control and mitigate weed species within the Port area. The Weed Management Strategy aims to reduce the impact of weeds on surrounding bushland through both species-based and site based control and is largely executed by Denmark Weed Action Group.

Why are there so many pigeons at the port?

The infrastructure at the port provides an excellent habitat for the feral pigeon population in Albany. A regular feed source in the form of grain storage also contributes to the population. The pigeons present both Quality Assurance health and hygiene issues for the port and its leaseholders. The Port of Albany along with CBH have committed to a co-operative approach to managing the pigeon population. This approach involves removing roosts and available feed, trapping, and undertaking approved alphachloralose treatment. CBH undertake the alphachloralose treatment under full compliance with the Department of Agriculture and Food's requirements and guidance.

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Why does the port operate during the night?

The Port of Albany forms part of international trade and shipping, and like ports around the world it is a 24 hour operation. Trade through Albany relies on the port´s ability to operate outside of normal business hours. Every effort is made by port staff and contractors to ensure that the impact of emissions, including noise and lights on surrounding residential areas is minimal.

Does the port recycle wastes?

The port participates in the fortnightly recyclable collection run by Cleanaway on behalf of the City of Albany. All recyclable paper, plastics, glass and aluminium from the administration building is collected and recycled. Quarantine wastes from shipping is disposed via deep burial in compliance and under the direct supervision of AQIS.

Who can I contact to talk with about environmental issues at the port?

The Environment Manager can be contacted on 9892 9000 or by email at Paul.Mackey@albanyport.com.au