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Ships wait up to three weeks to load grain at Albany port after bumper WA crop

Ships are waiting at anchor for up to three weeks to load grain at Albany port as supply chain issues cause delays.

“We’ve been waiting to load the grain,” Ms Killasandra said.

“I don’t know [how long we will be here]. We are just waiting for the information.”

According to sources wait times to load ships at the port can range from 10 days to about three weeks.

The delays come after many crews faced lengthy times at sea in isolation due to COVID outbreaks on ships during the pandemic.

Straining under a record harvest
Grain co-operative CBH’s head of operations Duncan Gray said delays were expected after a record grain harvest in Western Australia in 2021.

“We’re looking at 23 million tonnes in the supply chain and we won’t be able to get that out [of the ports] this year,” Mr Gray said.

He acknowledged the bottleneck stemmed from delays in rail transport but said the state’s grain trucks were working at record levels.

“Last week, we did 315,000 tonnes of road transport into the ports. The previous record was 285,000 tonnes,” he said.

“We’re working through those supply chain challenges with our rail provider, Horizon.”

Rail operations have also had problems including six train carriages derailing near a grain siding in Wagin in June.

Volunteers send SIM cards and support
Albany Mission for Seafarers volunteers have sent SIM cards to the ships for seafarers stuck far away from loved ones.

“Their SIM cards run out, we can recharge them so at least they can have time to talk to their family,” the mission’s Colleen Donovan said.

The mission has called for ship owners to send crew to shore while they wait for the grain.

“[They should] let seafarers off so they can visit the mission and shop, access their families better by using the internet onshore,” she said.

Karaoke keeps spirits high
On board Ocean Sukses, Ms Killasandra and her colleagues do their best to entertain themselves.

“We get bored sometimes,” Ms Killasandra said.

“In the vessel we have PlayStation and karaoke.

“We sing lots of songs.”
Source: ABC Net

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