Kangaroo Island Plantation Timber recently deployed a vessel, the Frederick G, to do maintenance work on the Smith Bay buoy. Some seabed drilling also took place which was subject to a Cease and Desist Order from the DPTI

The Frederick G: Deployed to do maintenance work on the Smith Bay buoy and seabed sampling.
The Frederick G: Deployed to do maintenance work on the Smith Bay buoy and seabed sampling.

The unannounced appearance of the vessel, Frederick G, in Smith Bay recently is a source of concern for people who are monitoring activity in the area of a proposed new export facility. 

The proposed $25-$30 million export facility at Smith Bay, which includes a 200 metre long jetty and a floating pontoon was recently declared a Major Project by Minister for Planning, John Rau.

Some of those involved with the social media site, Save Smith Bay, have alleged that after completion of some commissioned work by the vessel, they had observed apparent drilling into the seabed in the bay.

Deployed by Maritime Constructions, the Frederick G was contracted by Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers  to do maintenance work on the wave and current buoy, which has been situated at Smith Bay since June 23, 2016.

Yumbah Aquaculture is one of the businesses which depends on the pristine waters of Smith Bay for its viability.

Yumbah Aquaculture general manager David Connelll said that despite the issue of a Cease and Desist Order by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) on March 7, he was concerned that drilling may have continued until the following evening.

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers (KITP) prepared a statement through director Shauna Black, which stated a water quality monitoring buoy, deployed about halfway between the aquaculture facility and the proposed (wharf) development site had been active for several months and would continue to monitor water quality in real time.

“Maritime Construction’s subcontractor, Drilling Solutions Pty Ltd has ongoing authorisation from DEWNR to perform such sampling work with no extra permission required, for sampling up to 15 metres deep.”

- Shauna Black, Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers director

“Crew (on the Frederick G) were also scheduled to do seabed soil sampling at the site of the proposed wharf to ascertain the composition of the seabed, in order that KIPT can meet requirements for maintaining water quality in Smith Bay during construction and operation of the wharf,” it stated.

“Maritime Construction’s subcontractor, Drilling Solutions Pty Ltd has ongoing authorisation from DEWNR to perform such sampling work with no extra permission required, for sampling up to 15 metres deep.”

It stated that as a matter of courtesy, both the Kangaroo Island Council and case managers at DPTI were informed of the work on February 26.

“On Tuesday morning, March 7, the Member for Finniss, Michael Pengilly MP questioned the legality of the work with DPTI,” the statement continued.

“KIPT then suspended the sampling work about 12.30pm while the issue was ‘looked into’ by DPTI.

“Two holes of 5 metres had been completed and the crew left the site. 

“They returned on Wednesday to await further instructions and were instructed to return to Port Adelaide about 3pm on Wednesday.

“The redeployment of the Frederick G will cost KIPT an extra $25,000, but KIPT has agreed to accept this extra cost so there can be no doubt that it is acting within the law and also in the best interests of the neighbouring aquaculture facility. 

“We understand a special permit will be required, although this has not been required for such work by Maritime Constructions previously.

Public consultation in regards to the new development should begin soon.