The Queen Mary 2 will berth at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal for the first time ever on March 7.

Sydney Ports Executive General Manager, Industry Relations and Logistics, Lachlan Benson, said it will be the biggest ship ever to tie up at the terminal.

“Sydney Ports has made a considerable effort to be able to accommodate the ship, including placement of a special heavy-duty anchor in Campbell’s Cove this week, to ensure the 345-metre Queen Mary 2 is moored safely.

“Placement of this anchor was originally planned for later this year to cater for larger ships arriving in the 2012/13 season, but was brought forward at the request of cruise company, Carnival Australia.

“This is great news for Sydney Ports because it allows for increased use of the Overseas Passenger Terminal by bigger ships,” Mr Benson said.

“The installation of this new mooring is also further evidence of our booming cruise industry and the Government’s determination to support its continued growth

Mr Benson said that the 151,400-ton Queen Mary 2 would berth at 6.30am on 7 March and leave at around 8.30pm on 8 March.

“This visit is expected to attract significant public interest and the Department of Premier and Cabinet is liaising with Sydney Ports, Sydney Ports, NSW Police and Roads and Maritime Services, to address potential traffic management issues in the CBD.

“It’s a spectacular ship that’s going to attract a great deal of interest but we are ready for the crowds and contingencies are ready to handle any increase in traffic volumes.

Mr Benson said that Sydney’s reputation as one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world continued to deliver fresh challenges to Sydney Ports in the provision of port infrastructure.

“From the commencement of the 2012/13 cruise season, Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal will be a regular berthing point for significantly larger cruise ships,” Mr Benson said.

“Two of these ships are Royal Caribbean’s 122,000-tonne Celebrity Solstice, which is 315-metres long and the 310-metre Voyager of the Seas (137,000 tonnes).

“A longer term solution for the berthing of large ships at the Overseas Passenger Terminal may involve the installation of two fixed mooring points or ‘dolphins’- one at the site of the new anchor and another on shore.

Mr Benson said that the investment of $5 million in mooring improvements at the Overseas Passenger terminal was part of an $87 million infrastructure program launched by Sydney Ports to support the cruise industry.

The program also includes:

-A new $57 million terminal at White Bay; and
-A new Master Plan for the Overseas Passenger Terminal, with $25 million to be invested in its redevelopment.

“The NSW Government welcomes the contribution being made to this State’s economy by the cruise industry, and Sydney Ports is working in partnership with the industry to ensure its strong future,” Mr Benson said.