Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) is advising of a number of port and infrastructure issues following New Zealand’s biggest earthquake in 150 years. The earthquake, measuring a magnitude of 7.5, struck the upper South Island of New Zealand at midnight local time on 14 November.
Aftershocks are continuing in the upper South Island and Wellington region, some over a magnitude of 6. A tsunami warning was withdrawn early this morning, with unusual tidal surges and currents continuing throughout the day. ISS was involved in the evacuation of a number of ships to sea overnight after a tsunami warning was issued. These vessels have now returned back into the ports.
Only the ports of Wellington and Picton have currently issued damage notifications, with an advisory note released by Wellington authorities stating that both the port and wharf gates will remain closed for the next seven days. No ship or cargo operations will be permitted. As and when certain sections are cleared by engineers selective operations may be allowed to recommence during this period.
Wellington has gantry crane issues, wharf subsidence and log pile collapses. Cook Strait cargo/pax ferries are all at anchor as terminals at Wellington and Picton have substantial damage. There are reports of damage to wharves and the inter-island ferry terminal. The forestry and cruise berth at Shakespeare Bay has reported damage and subsidence. Engineering assessments are currently being undertaken.
Lyttelton/Christchurch port reopened at 1400 today and reports no structural damage. Railway and road access to the port has been declared safe and operative.
Power has been restored to all major cities. Rail – Upper South island and lines in the Wellington region are closed with buckling of lines and earth slips. These are heavy in the upper south island and some major rail lines could be closed for weeks.
In coastal areas and highways linking Christchurch to Picton roads are closed (along with the rail line on this route).