The brightest navigation light in Australasia has just been switched on at Whangarei's port in an attempt to provide a safer passage for ships.
It is so bright it can be seen several kilometres out to sea, even during the day.
With ships growing in size, Jae Staite of Marine Operations says they need all the help they can get to squeeze into port.
We have a very narrow channel used by commercial shipping and it’s imperative the largest ships stay in the centre of the channel,” he says.
Jim Lyall, regional harbour master for Northland, says the 22m sector navigator light is providing that help.
“You can actually see it during the day,” says Mr Lyall. “When you're in the centre of the channel you see a white light and as soon as you start to wander off that channel you see a red or a green light depending on which side you move to, so that gives you that knowledge straight away.”
Traffic has grown rapidly at Northport, and 215 ships now arrive every year.
The $300,000 light is New Zealand designed and made and has the power of 1.5 million candles.
“When you have the sun setting behind the light the light is brighter than the sun,” says Mr Staite.
It can be seen five nautical miles out to sea, and is accurate to within one metre.
“It makes an extra level of safety, it makes the pilot’s life a lot more secure,” says Mr Lyall.
The LED and halogen bulbs are solar-powered, with back up power on hand too.
“It will definitely help us to future-proof the port itself,” says Mr Staite. “There's a lot of growth going on at Northport and over the next decade ships are only going to get bigger and that will help those ships in the future.”
Meaning Whangarei is indeed proving to be the leading light.
source: newshub archive