Port of Port Hedland spared from Cyclone Ilsa, ops resume

Port of Port Hedland spared from Cyclone Ilsa, ops set to resume

The Port of Port Hedland has reopened after Cyclone Ilsa, a category 5 tropical cyclone, skirted past the port with minimal damage.

Port operator Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA) closed the port on 13 April ahead of the storm’s arrival, clearing all berths and anchorages of vessels.

After undertaking inspections of navigational aids, the channel, and berths, PPA confirmed that safe operations could resume and announced the reopening of the port at 11.00 am on 14 April.

The cyclone made landfall early on 14 April with the highest intensity rating on a 1-to-5 scale and moved inland. Emergency crews urged several remote communities along the storm’s path to seek shelter and remain indoors.

The Bureau of Meteorology said Cyclone Ilsa set new wind speed records in Australia, with offshore gusts of up to 289 kilometres per hour. It made landfall as a category 5 storm, but weakened as it moved inland and was downgraded to category 3.

While remote towns along its path have reportedly suffered extensive damage, the larger populated areas have largely escaped harm, reported Reuters.

In March, the Australian government announced a AU$565 million ($382 million) investment to expand the Port of Port Hedland in Western Australia.

The move is expected to create hundreds of jobs and help unlock trade and investment opportunities.

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