Creating solutions to the problems of island life

AN innovative solution to the passenger and freight requirements on the Cocos Islands will lead to the creation of a new island 2,700 kilometres north-west of Perth.

The new passenger and freight facility, in the form of an offshore island, will be located 200 metres offshore at Rumah Baru.

The island will measure 55 metres wide and 85m long and will be connected to the shore by a 400-metre bridge.

The Commonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Services commissioned engineering group GHD to manage the project and design the new facilities.

The construction of the facility will now be put out to tender.

It’s understood the project could be worth up to $16 million.

The department’s regional officer, John Weatherstone, said the island was essentially an offshore loading facility.

“What’s happened is the current jetty is just about past its useful life,” he said.

“You can only take passengers on and off the current site.

“There’s no commercial loading or unloading.

“At the moment, all the containers that arrive at the Cocos have to be taken off the ship, onto a barge and then unloaded by a bulldozer on the beach.”

The development follows an environmental impact study undertaken over a five-year period.

“We’ve done wave surge studies, sea grass studies and, at the end of the day, we did have a few options including an inland basin,” Mr Weatherstone said.

The site at Rumah Baru was chosen because of its calm, deep waters and its stable environment.

“A wave study identified the advantages of an offshore island.” GHD project manager Graham Greenacre said.

“The offshore island will also offer shelter and protection to vessels, and significantly improve passenger safety during ferry transfers.”

GHD recently announced that it would be adding the professional skills of Egis Consulting Australia to the group.

The group’s combined work-force of 2,300 and annual fee income of $250 million has positioned GHD within the top 50 engineering and environmental companies in the world.


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