The Victorian Regional Channels Authority (VRCA) is responsible for the management of the waterways providing access for ships to the Port of Geelong. The waterways generally consist of berth pockets and dredged channels.
The channels have been progressively enlarged and developed over a period of 150 years, the most recent change being a major deepening project carried out in 1996–97.
In 2014 the VRCA implemented the Corio Bay Channel Safety Adjustment Program (CSAP) to make minor changes to the channel alignment and available water depth in the City Bend, known as Area B.
The four proposed Channel Safety Adjustment Program dredge sites in Area B were within the designated port waters of the Port of Geelong, adjacent the existing commercial shipping channels and in close proximity to the city of Geelong and its environs.
These changes were intended to reduce operational risks arising from the increasing size of vessels gaining access to the port. Material removed from Area B was placed in the existing outer dredge material ground (DMG) located east of Point Wilson.
In July 2014 Heron mobilised the Machiavelli, three tugs, a survey vessel and two 750m3 split hopper barges to Geelong from Newcastle where all equipment had been extensively overhauled.
Dredging commenced with the removal of 110,000m3 of soft silts clay from Corio Quay North 4 Berth and approach channel to a design level of 12.3m. This site was located adjacent to the berth structures at Corio Quay North Berth Nos 2 and 4, extending to Corio Channel in the east. The material was transported to an existing DMG 25 kilometres from the dredge area.
The dredge moved to City Bend and removed approximately 130,000 m3 of seabed material from four narrow sections of the inside of City Bend within the designated port waters of the Port of Geelong, and placed the material within an existing designated Dredge Material Ground (DMG) in Port Phillip Bay.