Navigational Study No Secret

  • Mar 17, 2009

Navigational Study
Briefing Notes by Steve Gration

Gold Coast Bulletin reporter, Peter Cameron, claims in his article in the Weekend Bulletin (14-15th March 2008) that he has recently obtained the 'secret' Navigational Study for a Gold Coast ship terminal through the Freedom of Information Act. The study has, in fact, been in the public domain since September 2005.

It is a shame Cameron took over three years to find the report but even more of a shame that he is unable to apply any sensible analysis to his reading of it. It appears Cameron doesn't even read the reports of his fellow journalists at the Gold Coast Bulletin. In the same edition that Cameron states, when the cruise ship terminal was 'canned...Gold Coast tourism...was dudded', his colleagues fill the first five pages with the headlines 'Black Death', 'Too Little Too late', '...it's a forbidden island', 'Penalty in millions', 'Tears flow in paradise' and 'Calamity for creatures' in relation to the devastating oil spill from a ship off Moreton Island on the 11th March 2009. Luckily the Gold Coast has been largely spared such a 'calamity' but not without a fight.

On the 9th September 2005 a Navigational Simulation Study claiming to test the feasibility of safely docking ships on the Gold Coast was released to the public by the then Deputy Premier, Anna Bligh, after the Queensland Government had held it in confidence for the previous nine months. The document was headed, 'Navigational Study Gold Coast Cruise Ship Terminal Queensland, Australia at Star Cruise Ship Simulator, December 2004'.

A Government comment in the report stated the following:

The feasibility and safety of docking large vessels in the Gold Coast seaway is based only on 'rough data provided by the client' (Qld. Gov. Study Dec. 2004, Pg. 10: 4.1 Calculations)

An analysis of the study by SOSA led to the following information and actions:

-    The Navigational Study was conducted on computer simulators in Malaysia by Star Cruises and Mike Evans who subsequently became a member of a consortium submitting an Expression of Interest for building a ship terminal on the Gold Coast. Evans (ex-National Party Secretary during the Bjelke-Peterson era) has consistently sought ways to acquire land on the Spit for private development over the past two decades and made his desire known publicly during that time. Star Cruise Ships who run the ship simulator where the study took place also conduct 'gambling' tours through Asia onboard their casino vessels based out of Malaysia.

-    A foreign ship company and an entrepreneurial developer therefore conducted the Navigational Study on a $150,000 Qld. Government grant from the Department. of State Development in what is supposed to be an unbiased study.

-    On 7th  November 2005, at a meeting with the Assistant Coordinator General of the Department of State Development, it was pointed out that the base figures and methodology for calculating the feasibility and safety of ships docking in Gold Coast Seaway in the Evans/Star Cruise study was flawed.

-    On the 28th  Nov. 2005. SOSA and many individuals referred  to the flawed Navigational Study in response to a Queensland Government call for feedback on the draft terms of reference for an Environmental Impact Statement on the project.

-    On the 12th December 2005 a SOSA delegation visited Brisbane and once again point out to the Assistant Coordinator General that the Navigational Study was flawed and to proceed to Expressions of Interest from developers and an EIS was irrelevant because an accurate study of safety of ships docking and leaving under Gold Coast conditions had not been conducted.


-    Navigational Study Flaws:

Ships docking were only ever tested in waves 0-1.3 metres high (stated as 'max. wave heights' for the Gold Coast in the study) There is no evidence ship simulations ever tested above 1.3 metre waves to reflect the true maximum swell and wave heights encountered by the Gold Coast throughout the year.  
    
Ships docking were only tested in a tidal current speed of 1.3 knots when it is known the Gold Coast Seaway current runs at 4-6 knots and up to 7 knots during floodwaters and an outgoing tide.

The maximum wind speed of 20 knots for safely docking ships and used in the study calculations is accurate for the many mornings on the Gold Coast when hypothetically a ship might be docking. The study, however did not provide statistics for afternoon winds when for over 30% of the time the winds are well over 20 knots (Commonwealth Government statistics) and while ships would be leaving the dock.

No tests related to the ships safely leaving the dock are tabled at all in the Evans/Star Cruise Navigational Study (when winds are often over 20 knots) only for ships entering the Seaway. A ship-master will only dock at a port in the morning if the weather conditions in the afternoon are also safe to leave the port.

All three ships in the study had difficulty navigating the 'outer-channel' and Seaway in north-easterly winds which are the predominant winds in the summer cruise ship season.

The smaller ship 'Arcadia' failed nearly all tests and was not suitable for the Gold Coast even after massive dredging. This is the type of ship that most often operates in Australian waters and similar to current P&O vessels. The other two ships tested do not operate in Australian waters and represent less than 5% of ships operating around the world with bow-thrusters for maneuverability. The 'Superstar Leo' and 'Golden Princess' are casino/bar ships operating  in south East Asia where patrons book onto Gambling trips for 3-4 days and nights. If these ships were to visit Australia we wonder if Jupiter's Casino etc. would be too pleased about casinos ships visiting the Gold Coast.

Even these two 'state of the art' ships in the Navigational Study failed many test runs when attempting to dock through a hypothetically dredged Outer-channel, Seaway Entrance, Seaway Channel and Broadwater Spin-basin. The Evans/Star Cruise report writers, however, averaged the safety scores when this occurred. But you cannot average safety. If a ship scores less than 6 out of 8 on any of the 4 sectors while docking it should be deemed an unsafe run! Several times in the report even the averaging figure is calculated incorrectly e.g.

'Superstar Leo' Run No.107:  0, 0, 8, 8.  Average 8. Safe.
 An average should be calculated by dividing 16 by 4 = 4.(Unsafe!) But the report states the average on this run is 8 and safe!

In fact the scores of zero on Sector 1 of the 'Superstar Leo' Run 107 (outer-channel) means the vessel most likely ran aground so it doesn't get to travel to sectors 2 (also grounded), 3 and 4. And all this in what proves to be erroneous and seriously underestimated tide and current speeds and wave heights.

This safety methodology is totally flawed and includes inaccurate meteorological data related to wind speeds, current speeds and wave heights and excludes the testing of safe docking in wind directions which often occur on the Gold Coast including Westerlies (especially around August), North-Westerlies and Northerlies.

Information SOSA received from independent Ship-Masters with significant experience navigating the waters of South-East Queensland stated, 'The cruise ship proposal defies all maritime logic, the proposed docking location is on a lee-shore with prevailing winds from the south-east, so a cruise ship could smash into a break-wall.' To have based the decision to build a ship terminal on the Gold Coast using the Evans/Star Cruise Navigational study would have potentially led to the sort of oil spill disaster we have just witnessed on Moreton, Bribie and Stradbroke Islands and the Sunshine Coast beaches.

If the dredging for a ship terminal had been commenced or been completed by now it would have been totally obliterated by the cyclone and storm swells of  March 2006, March-April 2007, March-April 2008 and most recently the swells generated by Cyclone Hamish. The need for re-construction and dredging of the channels and spin basin would have been continuous and at whose cost? And at whose cost every time a storm or large swell hits the Gold Coast? World Shipping Insurers will not insure ships that attempt to cross sand-bars to dock (even if they have been dredged) because of the high risks of navigational problems and failure due to the behaviour of shifting and compressed sand.

SOSA believes, therefore, that ships would rarely if ever be able to safely dock on the Gold Coast through a dredged Ocean Outer-Channel, Seaway and Broadwater. So what use is a ship terminal that is never used? The ship terminal appeared to be an excuse to raise revenue from the selling off of Public Open Space and Waterways and/or the giving away of Public land to private developers to generate government  lease-income.

Even on an economic basis the Gold Coast ship terminal failed miserably. The Queensland Government's official estimate for tourism income from the docking of 26 cruise ships per year on the Gold Coast was $4.6 million per year. An independent University study showed that just the activity of surfing on South Stradbroke Island brings over $20 million per year to the north Gold Coast. This University study focused purely on surfing as an activity on South Stradbroke Island and did not take into account the additional economic benefits of activities on the Spit beaches, fishing and diving in the Seaway, boating, whale-watching, sea-kayaking etc. These activities bring huge economic benefits to the Gold Coast and would have suffered severe negative impacts or in the case of dive-operators the total destruction of their activities had the dredging and construction for a ship terminal proceeded on the Gold Coast.


Steve Gration
SOSA President
Gold Coast

Other Articles

Oct 7, 2017 In any other State but Queensland »
Sep 15, 2017 ABC 4 Corners probe GCCC re donations »
Aug 1, 2017 You Won - Spit Casino Cancelled »
Jul 31, 2017 SOSA AGM Monday 7th Aug »
Jul 5, 2017 Feasibility Study Costs »
Jun 6, 2017 Election promises? Not worth a cent! »
May 9, 2017 Silent Minority Exposed »
Apr 27, 2017 Collective Amnesia at CCC Hearing »
Apr 6, 2017 Light Rail loop-hole »
Mar 22, 2017 Consultation Sunday 26th 10:30 am »
Mar 10, 2017 Australian: ASF Financial Viability Woes »
Mar 8, 2017 Big Public Info Night Thurs 9th 6pm »
Feb 26, 2017 Has Lynham done secret deals with Tate? »
Feb 11, 2017 So again nothing new here Tom »
Feb 9, 2017 Survey Does Not Stack Up »
Feb 8, 2017 Warning new group compromised »
Jan 25, 2017 Napkin sketches and a dot point list »
Jan 19, 2017 Have you been consulted? »
Dec 20, 2016 Appealing Attractions - Casino ranked last »
Nov 26, 2016 Four Levels of Corruption »
Oct 8, 2016 A Murky Week in Gold Coast Politics »
Sep 6, 2016 Sunday Mail Casino Debacle »
Aug 27, 2016 Sunland Absurdity »
Aug 19, 2016 AGM Monday 22 6PM »
Jul 29, 2016 The State of Play »
Mar 17, 2016 Change is in the Air »
Feb 4, 2016 Rally in the Park Chevron Is Sunday »
Jan 31, 2016 The Elected Obfuscators Bluff »
Dec 20, 2015 A Christmas Message »
Nov 2, 2015 Peter Garrett re Cruise Ships »
Oct 15, 2015 Last chance to lodge your objection »
Oct 2, 2015 Back to the 1980s »
Sep 5, 2015 Broadwater and Spit Masterplan »
Aug 29, 2015 How to Report Potential Official Misconduct »
Jul 13, 2015 XCAT Farce Paradise Lost and more »
Jun 11, 2015 GCCC under review »
Jun 6, 2015 Another Radical Private Development »
Jun 1, 2015 My fun is more important than yours »
Apr 29, 2015 Economic Fear Campaign »
Mar 26, 2015 Reflections on the Water »
Feb 16, 2015 Project Terminal »
Feb 2, 2015 Election Result Sinks Gold Coast Terminal »
Jan 16, 2015 Tell the Truth - Public Meeting »
Dec 25, 2014 And so this is Christmas »
Dec 24, 2014 Seeney not winning friends on Coast »
Dec 19, 2014 The Numbers don't Lie »
Nov 21, 2014 Save our Spit Photographic and Art Show »
Nov 15, 2014 Senate Inquiry »
Nov 3, 2014 Grand Theft Wavebreak public rally »
Oct 23, 2014 Cronyism Exposed Again »
Oct 6, 2014 Greywater »
Sep 20, 2014 Expert Against Coast CST »
Sep 4, 2014 3 Events to attend »
Aug 30, 2014 Deputy Premiers Announcement »
Aug 23, 2014 The Hidden VDM report »
Jul 26, 2014 Politics and Rumours »
Jun 6, 2014 A call to action »
May 3, 2014 Move over Julia »
Apr 30, 2014 Just suck it up and say NO! »
Apr 25, 2014 That is not consultation »
Apr 8, 2014 Full Page Newspaper Propaganda Ads Begin »
Apr 5, 2014 Report revealed »
Apr 1, 2014 April Fools Day with flawed survey »
Mar 24, 2014 Questions our GC Councillors must ask ASF »
Mar 14, 2014 Hey small spender »
Feb 24, 2014 Surf threatened by CST »
Feb 19, 2014 Tate considers quitting »
Feb 14, 2014 Live blog with Mayor Tom Tate »
Feb 14, 2014 Gration for Mayor 2016 »
Feb 5, 2014 Currumbin under threat from dredging »
Jan 28, 2014 What is a SLAPP Suit? »
Jan 15, 2014 It's a whole of city issue »
Jan 1, 2014 Cowards Lies and China Syndrome »
Dec 30, 2013 North Kirra Cruise Ship Terminal »
Dec 30, 2013 Mick Fanning speaks out on Kirra CST »
Dec 14, 2013 Councillors unaware of Brisbane CST »
Nov 29, 2013 Grand Theft Land »
Nov 16, 2013 The Hidden Urbis Report »
Oct 24, 2013 2013 Gold Coast Media Awards »
Oct 21, 2013 State vs State vs Mate »
Oct 19, 2013 What actually happened at the vote »
Oct 18, 2013 Dear Councillor »
Sep 12, 2013 Ship visits raise concern »
Sep 6, 2013 Vote 1 Save Our Spit »
Aug 24, 2013 Mayor Plays the victim »
Aug 24, 2013 Cruise Industry Forum Cancelled »
Aug 14, 2013 Secret Study values Broadwater at $4.1 b »
Aug 10, 2013 AGM 2012-13 Sep 10 7pm »
Aug 10, 2013 CST Bidder pulls out »
Jun 23, 2013 Cruise Ship Terminal in doubt »
Jun 6, 2013 Q and A info Night »
May 29, 2013 Joel cans Terminal idea »
May 22, 2013 AECgroup Business Case Analysis »
Apr 22, 2013 CMC probe into Oceanway »
Apr 14, 2013 Secret letters and meetings »
Apr 8, 2013 CMC under LNP attack »
Apr 4, 2013 Golden myopia »
Mar 16, 2013 Green Sea Turtle May have paid Price »
Mar 9, 2013 Golden Opportunity Missed »
Mar 6, 2013 Controlled Messaging Fails »
Mar 4, 2013 Open for Business »
Mar 2, 2013 Gambling with our coastline »
Feb 17, 2013 Gold Coast Waterways Authority Appointees »
Feb 9, 2013 Expressions of Interest Broadwater Marine Project »
Feb 2, 2013 Analysis of the navigational report 2012 »
Jan 26, 2013 Survey Called into Question »
Jan 19, 2013 Light Rail court battle with Council »
Dec 18, 2012 Bob Katter makes it a Federal issue »
Dec 18, 2012 Self-interest rather than vision »
Dec 13, 2012 A history lesson »
Dec 13, 2012 Land grab confirmed by report »
Dec 12, 2012 Community Information Session 10AM Thurs 13th »
Dec 6, 2012 Selling off our public land and water! »
Dec 5, 2012 Shoals vital to quality waves at Strad »
Dec 3, 2012 A bad week and month for LNP »
Nov 29, 2012 The unethical removal of Dr Alex Douglas »
Nov 25, 2012 No one voted for this »
Nov 13, 2012 Annastacia stands up for the community »
Nov 10, 2012 Father Son »
Nov 10, 2012 The Younger Generation Get It »
Nov 6, 2012 Rally gets Australia wide attention »
Nov 3, 2012 RIP Angus »
Oct 27, 2012 Ignored Tax and Rate payer »
Oct 27, 2012 Broadwater water quality degrading »
Oct 27, 2012 In Union there is strength »
Oct 20, 2012 Leadership not spin »
Oct 16, 2012 Comparing apples with apples »
Oct 12, 2012 Not the Panacea of Gold Coast Economic Woes »
Oct 8, 2012 Divide and Conquer - Trade Off »
Oct 5, 2012 Dawny lets us down »
Oct 3, 2012 Joel Parkinson - thanks »
Oct 2, 2012 Thanks for the support Occy »
Oct 1, 2012 Free Like Me »
Oct 1, 2012 Gold Coast Bulletin backs the people »
Sep 23, 2012 Sembawang disappears into a puff of logic »
Sep 21, 2012 Thanks for the support Kelly »
Sep 19, 2012 Mick Fanning is a legend »
Sep 11, 2012 Ship Terminal Sembawang Wave Break Survey »
Sep 3, 2012 No support for Sembawang Proposal »
Sep 3, 2012 A letter to the Premier »
Aug 28, 2012 Russ Hinze changed his mind 1980 »
Aug 22, 2012 Facebook saving our spit »
Aug 21, 2012 Is the Spit Man Made? »
Aug 14, 2012 The qu is NOT where but WHY? »
Aug 2, 2012 Lose Kirra or Straddie »
Jul 27, 2012 Hello SGC Business Leaders »
Jul 23, 2012 Cruise Ship Terminal - White Elephant »
Jul 17, 2012 Dear Mr Tate »
Jul 9, 2012 City Backs Terminal - NOT »
Jun 22, 2012 Join Us »
Jun 22, 2012 Public Open Space »
Jun 12, 2012 AGM 2011-12 Thurs 21 June 7 pm »
Jun 8, 2012 Dear Mayor and Councillors »
May 31, 2012 A Casino spitting ships »
Apr 26, 2012 Not printed in the local paper »
Mar 3, 2012 Kelly Slater video helps SOSA »
Feb 22, 2012 Broadwater Community Reference Group »
Jan 16, 2012 Cruise Mishap a reminder to us »
Sep 29, 2011 Broadwater Management Plan »
Jun 11, 2011 AGM 2011 Wed 13th »
Oct 22, 2010 Cruise Ship Tourists may not spend »
Aug 31, 2010 Another Broadwater plan »
Jul 20, 2010 Gold Coast Bulletin Frenzy »
Jul 14, 2010 A supporters spit »
Apr 29, 2010 AGM 2010 Tues 18 th May »
Nov 26, 2009 Rich dumping filth in our Broadwater »
Sep 14, 2009 ITU World Triathlon great for Gold Coast »
Sep 1, 2009 letter - Dead section of the Spit »
May 25, 2009 President has a SPIT »
May 13, 2009 AGM 2009 Wed May 27th 6-8 pm »
Apr 24, 2009 Medico supports SOSA »
Apr 1, 2009 Tides of Change - Have your say »
Feb 25, 2009 News Beatups »
Jan 11, 2009 Safely sharing the seaway »
Oct 24, 2008 Catalyst - invasive species by boat »
Oct 4, 2008 Save Our Spit Stickers Available »
Sep 22, 2008 Government Architect Mr Philip Follent »
Sep 10, 2008 Straddie saved from Receding Hairline »
Sep 4, 2008 Terminal Politicians »
Jul 4, 2008 Terminal terminated so Move On »
May 28, 2008 The Good, The Bad & the Ugly »
May 14, 2008 Oceanway Pathway debacle »
May 14, 2008 GCCC Bulldozes Spit Dunes »
Apr 19, 2008 Celebrate a few victories »
Mar 16, 2008 Domestic visitors spend $3 b on Gold Coast »
Mar 11, 2008 Council Election 2008 »
Jan 8, 2008 Christmas Greeting 2007 »
Jan 2, 2008 Letter to John Mickell MP »
Nov 21, 2007 Friends of Federation Walk new website »
Sep 26, 2007 Paul Lucas pushing Marine Simulator »
Aug 6, 2007 Developers on notice re Local Area Plan »
Aug 4, 2007 Protection for the Gold Coast Spit at last! »
Aug 4, 2007 Premier Beattie Saves Our Spit »
Jul 18, 2007 Spit Training Centre Threat »
May 18, 2007 Lessons from Los Angeles »
Apr 25, 2007 Another Storm for the Spit »
Apr 16, 2007 State Government Threatens Spitů Again »
Apr 13, 2007 Gold Medal Winner and the Spit »
Mar 27, 2007 Sean's letter »
Feb 23, 2007 Sea World Ferris Wheel Fiasco »
Jan 29, 2007 Reignited Protests »
Jan 19, 2007 Financial Review Article - Millionnaire Greenies »
Nov 17, 2006 Beach Spirit Award Winners - The Spit »
Nov 14, 2006 Cruise liner dumps oil in Paradise »
Nov 11, 2006 Developer 'Vision' Not 20:20, say Spitfighters »
Nov 9, 2006 Government plans for future Spit vision: Bligh »
Oct 13, 2006 What a difference 48 hours makes »
Sep 10, 2006 Government Speak »
Sep 10, 2006 Boating Industry views »
Aug 28, 2006 Super Yachts OK- in the Right Place »
Aug 11, 2006 The SpitFight Goes To Canberra »
Aug 5, 2006 Gold Coast Bully - Taken to Task »
Jul 14, 2006 Natural tourism drawcard threatened - Alan Midwood »
Jun 25, 2006 Greatest City Dive at Risk »
Jun 22, 2006 Whales Spotted in Proposed Terminal Site »
Jun 13, 2006 Our letters sent to Peter Beattie via Peter Lawlor »
Jun 11, 2006 Peta-Kaye Croft ignores her constituents on SOS »
Jun 1, 2006 Letter to Gold Coast Bulletin - I am not a Green »
May 31, 2006 A letter to Anna Bligh from Gecko »
May 31, 2006 Spitfighters Fight Back - Life Weekly article »
May 27, 2006 Sailing into murky waters »
May 20, 2006 Life Weekly Magazine article »
May 10, 2006 Gold Coast City Marina - Exposed »
May 3, 2006 Athletes fight to Save their training ground »
Apr 22, 2006 Notional Shipping Terminal Confirms Public Losses »
Apr 21, 2006 Save Our Spit- from Strength to Strength »
Apr 21, 2006 Overseas Cruise Ship Campaigners »
Apr 2, 2006 Gaven - Ominous warning to the Beattie Government »
Mar 30, 2006 What the Gaven by-Election Candidates said »
Mar 23, 2006 Gaven by-Election Media Release »
Mar 19, 2006 Peter Beattie meets SOSA at Robina »
Mar 12, 2006 An historical journey »
Mar 5, 2006 Surf cola »
Mar 5, 2006 Storm surf breaks across Seaway »
Feb 21, 2006 Labor 'greed' on tunnel fiasco - sounds familiar »
Feb 19, 2006 Surf Rage »
Feb 17, 2006 Surfrider - media release »
Feb 13, 2006 Gold Coast - too good for a shipping terminal »
Feb 13, 2006 Peter Beattie and co's dancing figures »
Feb 8, 2006 Master Mariner questions sanity of proposal »
Feb 5, 2006 Surfers promise to wipe out Labor »
Feb 5, 2006 Councillor Susie Douglas's inspiring rally speech »
Feb 3, 2006 Letters to the 'Bully' »
Jan 25, 2006 Surfrider says »
Jan 24, 2006 Pro Terminal threaten to attend rally »
Jan 12, 2006 Public Rally Feb 5th 12 noon »
Jan 11, 2006 Anna Bligh confirms it's not a done deal »
Jan 9, 2006 Who Murdered Mundaka - is Straddie next? »
Dec 21, 2005 MP's Ciobo and Langbroek not happy »
Dec 16, 2005 Ms Levy's band of do-gooders »
Nov 28, 2005 A new Picture - future Spit »
Nov 23, 2005 Anna Bligh and misinformation »
Nov 11, 2005 Bulletin gone quiet »
Nov 5, 2005 Surfrider Foundation's support »
Nov 5, 2005 US Forces get the nod »
Nov 1, 2005 The Global War on Tourism »
Oct 25, 2005 Are Cruise Ships getting too big? »
Oct 14, 2005 Meeting Tuesday 18th October SOS »
Oct 13, 2005 Brad Farmers Message - Letter to the editor »
Oct 11, 2005 A very personal attachment to the Spit »
Oct 10, 2005 Map - SOS opposition to Government Plans »
Oct 7, 2005 Increased Cancer Risk From LA Port Complex Fumes »
Oct 6, 2005 From Strength to Strength in our campaign »
Sep 28, 2005 Venice Sinking under cruise ships »
Sep 21, 2005 Thats not reality but this is »
Sep 18, 2005 EIS rubber stamp? »
Sep 5, 2005 Letter to Bulletin »
Aug 29, 2005 Excerpts: »
Aug 28, 2005 Plans for lakes of effluent on Straddie !!! »
Aug 23, 2005 Not Exactly The Love Boat - New Book »
Aug 3, 2005 Premier sinking Gold Coast dive industry »
Aug 2, 2005 Thumbs up for Councillor Susie Douglas »
Aug 1, 2005 World Class Waves at Risk »
Jul 18, 2005 New Stickers Available »
Jul 18, 2005 Save our spit campaign highlights »
Jul 18, 2005 People and Parks Day Sunday 31st July »
Apr 20, 2005 Trinity Lutheran College Cruise Ship Debate »