Compo for lost trawling gear, says Esso

Business, Normal

The National, Tuesday 3rd January 2012

PRAWN trawlers equipment and nets that get snagged or lost because of the PNG LNG gas pipeline in the Gulf of Papua will be compensated, according to international procedures.
That was the word from Esso Highlands that was developing the PNG LNG project and was laying 407km of the pipeline between Kikori in the Gulf Province and Boera-Papa in the Central province.
The pipe-laying was currently progressing in the Gulf provincial waters off Iokea village – the closest point to land in the province – about 30km off the coastline.
The closest point to land in Central province is Suckling Bay – about 15km off the coastline.
The pipe will be laid on the sea-bed and was not anticipated to affect the annual migration of lobsters from the Torres Strait waters to Yule island waters in Central province.
A PNG LNG newsletter says: “The pipe itself will lay on the sea bed and because it will over time bury itself into the sea bed, it will not pose an obstacle to migration of tropical rock lobsters as they move from the Torres Strait across the Gulf of Papua to reefs around Yule Island.
“The pipeline was designed to withstand trawling but if any prawn trawling gear was snagged and lost, the owners would be compensated with international procedures,” the company said.
It did not spell out the procedures.
However it was understood that under the PNG-Australia Torres Strait Treaty in 1984, prawn trawling was banned on both sides of the border.
The migratory season was from September to November where the lobsters at about three years of age start the migration to the reefs off Yule Island.
They breed there and the tide carries the larvae back to the Torres Strait.
According to the company, the offshore gas pipeline would run alongside the 35km off-shore oil pipeline from Kopi to the Kumul Marine terminal and then turn eastward to Boera-Papa.
It will pass Caution Bay near the two villages and through a gap in the barrier reef and cross the deeper silt and clay sea bed, thus avoiding the coral reefs closer to shore.
“The major mitigations adopted for off-shore section of the gas pipeline have been routine selection to avoid coral reefs and bypass routing to eliminate conflicts with existing oil export facilities,” the company said.
The off-shore route was selected to avoid the terrain, environmental and social challenges of an onland pipeline to Port Moresby.