Chatham Island Wharf and Breakwater Construction

In April 2016 the Acheron III with the Pohonui in tow carried construction materials and machinery for the construction of a new wharf and breakwater at Waitangi in the Chatham Islands.

Cyclone Pam had damaged two other wharfs on the island, at Kaingaroa, and on Pitt Island, leaving Waitangi the only cargo-handling wharf available for essential supplies including fuel for electricity generation and air services. The old wharf has been identified as a structural risk, it will continue to operate while a new one is built around it.

The first load of a total of 6 trips included a 125T Komatsu digger, 65T Kobelco crane, 35T digger, portable concrete batching plant, concrete truck, around 200T cement plus containers of gear, cement trucks, and workshops, etc.

The Acheron and Pohonui left Mt Maunganui, Tauranga on the 18th of April and got to the Chatham Islands on the evening of the 22nd of April.

Because a ship was unloading at the Waitangi Wharf, we had to stand off and then go to the North-Eastern side of the main island when a gale with winds up to 60 knots came through.

That lasted 5 days, see a picture of the Pohonui coming around the NW end of the main Chatham Islands into a 50-knot blow.

When we arrived at Waitangi, we could only unload the deck cargo onto the wharf as there was too much swell.

When the swell dropped to a surge, we were able to winch the Pohonui into the old fisherman’s wharf and use the 12.5m ramps (rated to 100T each), to walk off the heavy equipment including the 125T digger.

  • Archeron and Barge arriving at Chathams