Maritime freight matters

Maritime freight matters
Jackie Watts

The community living in the Docklands precinct with large vessels and tugs on their doorstep are likely to be more aware than many in the wider community of the immense importance of maritime trade.

Thanks to COVID having a very obvious adverse impact on maritime trade, the general public now better understands Australia’s vulnerability and utter dependence on trade by sea.

You may have read the recent alarming media coverage of cyber-attacks on supply chain infrastructure issues relating to DP World, one of Australia’s largest port operators, handling approximately 40 per cent of the nation’s container trade across terminals in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle. The Melbourne terminal is Australasia’s largest maritime hub for containerised, automotive, and general cargo.

David Tuffey reported in The Conversation on November 13 that DP World’s “Major cyber-attack on Australian ports suggests sabotage by a ‘foreign state actor’”. Cyber-attacks on ports and shipping are becoming more common and are critical for any port terminal operator trying to manage the complexity of port operations.

Simple really. If they don’t know what containers are, and where and what containers are to go on or off what ship, containers without identification and documentation may be lost in the freight yard.

In February 2022 several European ports were hit by a cyber-attack that disrupted oil terminals. Earlier in 2023, a ransomware attack on maritime software affected more than 1000 ships globally.

All this cyber drama reveals the vulnerability of our global maritime trade. The federal government is attempting to assist by providing support and advice to DP World and other affected parties through the Critical Infrastructure Centre and the Trusted Information Sharing Network. The problem is not diminishing.



Heritage precinct at the 2023 Melbourne Boat Show

Many in Docklands will have seen the heritage ferry Grower tootling back and forth across Victoria Harbour from NewQuay to the heritage precinct on North Wharf during the recent Melbourne Boat Show.

Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network (MMHN) is delighted at the success of this excellent first opportunity to collaborate with the Boating Industry Association Victoria (BIAVic) to engage with so many recreational boating industry enthusiasts and remind them of their own maritime heritage.

MMHN thanks BIAVic and commends Nick Atkins at the Victorian Wooden Boat Centre on North Wharf for so generously hosting MMHN and several members of Maritime Museums Victoria at this event.

MMHN also congratulates the stalwarts of the heritage fleet in Victoria Harbour – the steam tug Wattle, the Enterprize and the Alma Doepel.

MMHN strongly recommends that you pop out along to the North Wharf Wooden Boat Shed and visit the vessels out there to have a look what is going on – perhaps build yourself a wooden canoe?

Victorian historic vessels

Further on the topic of Victorian heritage in vessels, MMHN has been concerned that, although the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) in Sydney keeps a national register of historic vessels, until now people around Australia who try find and view heritage vessels in their locality have found the ANMM online “search” process very difficult.

MMHN advocated to ANMM that it changes the process to enable better online access to local noteworthy heritage-registered vessels in each state. MMHN argued that such an improvement in the registration process may also encourage maritime enthusiasts in Victoria and in other states outside of NSW, to look more closely at the marvellous heritage vessels they may find accessible close to home.

Hopefully this improvement in online searching will also serve to encourage owners of even more Victorian vessels to make their way onto the ANMM Australian Register of Historic Vessels. It’s super-impressive – 800 historic vessels are listed – with images and background information on designers, builders, owners, geographical location, aspects of their type or class, the eras their life has spanned, and stories. Victoria’s magnificent Sayonara made the list.



World Ship Society – four tugs!

Given that it is so close to the Docklands precinct, MMHN highly recommends that you pop out along to a World Ship Society Meeting, 10 am on the first Saturday of every month at the Port Education Centre, 343 Lorimer St in Fishermans Bend.

We guarantee you will be enthralled with huge vessels nudged along the Yarra within touching distance of the estuary bank.

MMHN thanks the World Ship Society for yet another fascinating and rare image of four tugs at work in Port of Melbourne waters. •

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