Port Kembla Port Corporation recently launched its new pilot vessel "Shearwater". Minister for Ports, Waterways and the Illawarra, Paul McLeay and Member for Wollongong, Noreen Hay were on hand on the day to inspect the vessel.
The million dollar state of the art vessel is one of two owned and used by the Port Corporation to transfer marine pilots to and from the ships transiting the port. The new vessel the "Shearwater" replaces the "Alvina" which has been in service for over 20 years and is some 35 years old.
"Pilot boats like Alvina and Shearwater are extremely important to everyday operations at the port, as they ensure the safe navigation of large vessels in and out of the harbour," Mr McLeay said. "The new boat is faster, more fuel efficient and will help to ensure smooth operation at the port while minimising output of Green House Gasses."
In launching it into service, the vessel was also officially named. In a competition conducted at the end of last year, PKPC received hundreds of suggestions from students of the local Kemblawarra, Port Kembla, Cringila and St Patricks primary schools.
Mr McLeay and Ms Hay presented a $1000 cheque to students from Port Kembla Public School for providing the winning entry. All schools that participated were awarded with $250 book vouchers, and participating students were given prize packs and certificates.
"Ms Hay said "I'd like to congratulate to all those who got involved and participated in the competition. This competition gave students an opportunity to engage with the port and learn more about its role in the local community."
Mr McLeay said the boat's name "Shearwater" was inspired by a local species of seabird. Shearwaters are medium sized long winged seabirds. The wedge tailed Shearwater is one of the most common species found in the local area and breeds on the five island nature reserve.
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