The port has a design depth of eight metres following the completion of the Avatiu Port Redevelopment in late 2012.
All vessels, especially those carrying cargo, have to consider the depth to make the draft requirement.
Draft determines the minimum depth of water a ship or boat can safely navigate and can be used to determine the weight of the cargo on board by calculating the total displacement of water.
Cargo vessel Olomana Voyage 1O7N, heading to Rarotonga, was delayed due to the volume of cargo onboard.
In a letter to the local customers last month, vessel agent Pacific Direct Line said “due to the volume of Cooks cargo we cannot make the draft requirement.
The Olomana V107 will now be calling Niue before Rarotonga”.
Olomana V107 arrived last week, much to the relief of some local vendors who were running out of stock.
Ports Authority general manager Nooroa (Bim) Tou said Olomana had made calls to Rarotonga directly and sometimes through other Pacific ports to ensure its cargo load meets the Avatiu Port design depth.
“Based on the Avatiu Port redevelopment with a design depth of eight metres; all ship owners/agents are aware of the Avatiu Port depth when loading cargo to ensure their cargo loading layout plan takes into consideration of the Avatiu Port Redevelopment design depth prior to arrival,” Tou said.
“We are pleased to confirm that we have not experienced any such delays in the past because of the vessels draft requirements.”
Tou confirmed there was no plan to deepen the Avatiu port as the current container vessel calls averaging two monthly and fuel tanker calls monthly was adequate to meet the Cook Islands cargo volume demands.
“However, we continue as part of the Ports Authority asset management maintenance programme conducting surveys inside the harbour basin to ensure that Avatiu port is safely maintaining its design depth of eight metres.”