The world’s largest dredger, the Queen of the Netherlands, owned by Dutch dredging giant Boksalis, arrived in Melbourne harbour in Australia on Tuesday morning to mass protests by environmental organisations.
Boksalis has been contracted by Melbourne council to deepen the waterway between the harbour and Port Phillip bay. The arrival of the dredger was met with protesters in boats, in kayaks and on surfboards.
Police in boats and on jet skis kept them away and have set up a 1.4 kilometre exclusion zone around the ship.
Australian newspaper The Age says the two-year project will dredge 23 million cubic metres of sand, rock and toxic silt from the bay to enable a new generation of super container ships to dock.
It says protestors fears a toxic plume will engulf the bay and cause it to suffer irreparable damage.
Final permission for the project has still not been given by the courts.
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