News & Media

20 February, 2019

Weather Advisory - Queensland Severe Warning for Abnormally High Tides and Dangerous Surf

Dear Valued Customer,    

At 11 am AEST, tropical cyclone Oma lies in the eastern Coral Sea, approximately 1100 kilometres northeast of Brisbane. Tropical cyclone Oma is forecast to move to the southwest over the next few days, and will generate a significant east to northeasterly swell over southern Queensland beaches. The increasing swell is also expected to combine with king tides.

Dangerous surf conditions are forecast to develop over Fraser Island and Capricornia coastal waters, south of about Seventeen Seventy during Thursday afternoon and evening. These conditions are then expected to extend south over remaining southeastern Queensland coastal waters during Friday. Beach erosion is likely to continue with the hazardous marine conditions.

Water levels on the high tide may exceed the highest tide of the year by around one metre on the morning high tides on Thursday and Friday.

Locations which may be affected include Gold Coast, Maroochydore, Moreton Island, Noosa Heads, Fraser Island, Caloundra, North Stradbroke Island and Rainbow Beach.

Note : Caloundra is pilot boarding location for port of Brisbane and thus we expect interruptions to port operations over the coming days


Further to the above message, please note following from the Regional Harbour Masters office regarding approach of Cyclone OMA to the South East Queensland Coast.


As the track of tropical cyclone Oma (approximately 1100 kilometres North East of Brisbane) becomes more established, forecasted to move towards the southwest and the Queensland Coast over the next few days, Port Stakeholders will need to commence preparation (if not done so already) and review shipping schedules appropriate for the severe weather conditions ahead.

The follow was distributed yesterday and still applies. 

A  high energy swell event with large and power sea conditions including gale force winds, generated by tropical cyclone Oma in the Coral Sea are forecasted to effect South East Queensland Coastal Waters from late Wednesday 20/02/19 and continue into this weekend. The expected peak of the cyclone is around Saturday 23/02/19 and Sunday 24/02/19 at this stage. This will effect ships requiring Under Keel Clearance windows in the North West channel as swell conditions increase. As the cyclone approaches the coast, high windage ships such as Passenger ships, Container Ships and Vehicle carriers could also be affected during this stage.

Brisbane VTS would like to warn Agents, Terminals and Service Providers about the potential implications of tropical cyclone Oma and the likely significant disruption to port activities, such as;

  • Swell conditions at Point Cartwright in the range of 6 meters or more and Gale Warnings / Severe Gale Warnings for South East Queensland, including Moreton Bay.
  • Potential intermittent suspension of Pilotage transfers at Point Cartwright as waves heights and wind speeds reach their peak.
  • Closure of the Point Cartwright anchorage from Thursday.
  • Closure of the Brisbane Roads anchorage from Thursday.
  • Deep draft ships can expect Under Keel Clearance (NCOS) windows to close.
  • Tidal windows will be required for all ships over 11.5m draft from Wednesday AM.
  • High windage ships may not be able to berth securely due to beam winds and therefore may be rescheduled to call once winds abate. 

Brisbane VTS will continue to monitor the situation and communicate with Shipping Agents, Terminals and Service Providers during this time as more information comes to hand and cyclone Oma approaches the Queensland Coast.
Please refer to the Bureau of Meteorology for further detailed information and review against your expected operations during the period.

Weather Warnings

Tropical Cyclone forecast track map


Please see below important information from the Regional Harbour Master Gladstone in regards to Tropical Cyclone OMA and the Gladstone Region.


Good Afternoon,

TC OMA is currently well to the North east of Gladstone but is tracking in a generally South West direction. The track of the cyclone in the coming days is uncertain, with different models suggesting different outcomes. Best case is the cyclone will turn to the South East and worst case is the cyclone will track to the South West before turning North West and crossing the coast between Bundaberg and Saint Lawrence. Indications are a cyclone watch will be issued later today for some part of the Queensland coast.

Regardless of the final track of the cyclone at the very least the sea and swell conditions off the coast will increase significantly in the next few days, starting on Thu 21 Feb 19. A strong wind warning is in force for Thu 21 Feb and indications are a gale warning may be in force for Fri 22 Feb 19 and beyond. The latest coastal waters forecast for St Lawrence to Burnett Heads can be found here and should be consulted regularly.

The Gladstone Region severe weather contingency plan ( ) will be enacted if a cyclone warning is issued for the Region and all mariners should be familiar with the content of the plan.

  • The impact on Port Operations in the coming days is hard to judge at this time but may be significant. 
  • Vessel movements may be disrupted due to wind strength and/or the sea and swell conditions. 
  • The outer and inner anchorages may be closed to shipping. 
  • The prevailing conditions will also affect DUKC calculations and operators should be cognizant of this when planning the movement and loading of deep draft and tidally restricted vessels, especially as the tides are also moving from Springs to Neaps in the coming days.  

Mariners should be prepared to encounter rough to very rough or greater sea conditions in the coming days and act appropriately to the conditions. Coastal bars and rivers will likely be unnavigable, coastal anchorages may be untenable and conditions off shore could be extreme. 

Marina Management and occupants of Marina berths, should commence preparations for a cyclone.  Owners and Masters of vessels on Buoy Moorings or at anchor in the Region should ensure their vessels are operational, they are prepared to move and be prepared to secure their vessels in the event of a cyclone.

Based on the current weather forecast the following measures are to be implemented as a minimum for all Ports in the Gladstone Region from 1200 local time, Thursday 21 February 2019:

  • Vessels at anchor to bring their main engines to standby, ballast down and be prepared to depart the anchorage at immediate notice.
  • Vessels at berth are to run additional mooring lines and maintain a continuous watch on mooring lines
  • Vessels at berth are to be ready to cease cargo operations and depart the Port with little notice.
  • Vessels directed to depart the Port and Anchorages are to ensure they proceed to sea and not remain within the confines of the Great Barrier Reef 

As the situation regarding TC OMA clarifies in the coming days these directions will be updated to reflect the conditions.

Please contact VTS Gladstone, by radio, email or fax with any queries or requests.

Yours Aye

John Fallon
Regional Harbour Master Gladstone
Maritime Safety Queensland Branch | Customer Services, Safety and Regulation Division | Department of Transport and Main Roads
Floor 7 | Gladstone - Marine Operations | 21 Yarroon Street | Gladstone Qld 4680
PO Box 123 | Gladstone Qld 4680


For more information please contact:

Claudia Taborda
Customer Service Centre - Australia
T +61 (0) 2 9410 8888