The original dredge, the “Saibai” is back in operation this morning at the Mooloolaba Harbour entrance during calmer weather, which was the good news, MP Fiona Simpson said.
“The bad news is that the heavier dredge, the Port Frederick, has been found to be more badly damaged than originally hoped with both propellors damaged, meaning it may not be back in operating for a couple of more weeks,” she said.
Ms Simpson, who lobbied to have the Port Frederick brought to the Sunshine Coast to get rid of the problem sand shoal at the entrance of the Mooloolah River, said it was an expected blow that the dredge which was supposed to be the rescuer had become the victim when a freak wave picked it up and dumped it against the sand bar, causing the damage, on April 17.
Maritime Safety Queensland had contracted the Port Frederick at a cost of $400,000 to undertake the work which was originally only expected to take a few weeks.
“We knew the weather conditions were rough and could hamper the speed of operations but this is more than just ironic that the rescuer has also become a victim.”
Up until then, the Saibai had been in place to undertake work to clear the sand shoal and pump sand on to Mooloolaba Beach but had been out of action due to the severe weather conditions, operating as little as two hours per week.
It is still operating as weather permits.
Ms Simpson said she was asking MSQ to do all it could to ensure dredging proceeded as soon as possible and the public were kept informed.