Draft Restrictions

The two tidally restricted and therefore controlling areas for traversing Torres Strait are Varzin Passage and the Prince of Wales Channel. Use of daily tide rises enables the service to pilot ships through these areas with a maximum draft not exceeding 12.2 metres (40 feet). Our in-house expertise is readily available for accurate calculation of tidal windows. ARP has a Duty Pilot available to provide our clients with 24/7 service. This includes the provision of pre-arrival waypoints and UKC management plans, routing recommendations and ready access to technical information.

It is also important to note that the Torres Strait pilotage area is divided into the following sub-areas:

1. Torres Strait Area A means the area between longitudes 141° 50’E and 142° 05’E.
2. Torres Strait Area B means the area between longitudes 142° 05’E and 143° 24’E.

All vessels 70 metres or more in length (loaded oil tankers, chemical tankers and liquefied gas carriers irrespective of length) are required to use the services of an AMSA licensed pilot when transiting these two areas. The only exception is vessels with a draft of less than eight metres when transiting Area A do not require a pilot and may board/ land pilots at Area B.

Vessels loading in any Queensland port and using Hydrographers Passage, Palm Passage, Grafton Passage or the southern entrance to the Great Barrier Reef are limited only by the permissible draft at the loading port.
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