New Guinean marine services company Pacific Towing (PacTow) is assisting Australia’s Pacific Marine Group (PMG) with the upgrade of two major PNG ports. PacTow’s commercial dive team completed work at the Alotau provincial wharf in Milne Bay Province in May and is part way through similar work in Manus Province. The two port upgrades are part of a broader infrastructure program funded by multiple parties including the PNG and Australian governments.
PacTow General Manager, Neil Papenfus, confirms that PacTow and PMG collectively hold nearly 70 years marine services’ experience in PNG and that their working relationship commenced in 2017 with a 900-metre ocean outfall pipeline project in Port Moresby’s Fairfax Harbour. PacTow commercial divers were involved in several aspects of the project including the relocation of hundreds of living corals from the new pipeline footprint.
The more recent Alotau provinical wharf project involved the demolition of an existing jetty, followed by the installation of a new jetty made from tubular steel piles and a concrete deck. A new floating concrete pontoon, together with an access walkway from the jetty and associated site buildings were also delivered as part of the project.
PacTow’s commercial dive team’s involvement in the Alotau project included a seabed survey, debris clearance, underwater cutting of broken steel piles, gridline mark outs, and the application of pile jackets on all new piles. PacTow divers worked on the Alotau project for approximately five weeks split over a seven-month period (i.e., Oct 2022 – May 2023). Commercial Dive Manager, Ricky Leka, reports that the project went well although it was called off at one point for three days due to strong wind (i.e., 25-30 Knots) and rough seas.
PacTow divers commenced work for PMG in Manus in May on the upgrade and extension of an existing marine facility as part of a significant and ongoing infrastructure project. Their responsibilities have included clearing debris, removing old anode straps, and installing new anode straps. Similar to the Alotau wharf project, they will work on the project in several different stages, returning to site when required until its estimated completion in Q4 2023.
PacTow has PNG’s (as well as broader Melanesia’s) only permanent commercial dive team. Its divers are internationally trained and certified with a wealth of experience servicing diverse sectors throughout the region. Oil and gas majors are among PacTow’s clients, and the company has introduced numerous niche services for PNG’s growing oil and gas sector, including emergency response and spill services.
Top image caption: PacTow diver at work on the Alotau wharf upgrade. PacTow’s 100 percent Papua New Guinean commercial dive team are internationally trained and certified with extensive experience servicing the O&G sector.