Muffler could be solution to port ship noise

Rio de Janiero was the first Rio-class container ship to visit Port Chalmers in October last year...
Rio de Janiero was the first Rio-class container ship to visit Port Chalmers in October last year. Photo: ODT file

A possible solution to the thumping noise coming from container ships keeping Otago Harbour residents awake at night might come in the form of a large muffler.

The low thumping noise from the Rio Class container ships which have been berthing at Port Otago since late last year has caused sleepless nights for residents from Harington Point to Ravensbourne.

Noise complaints made to both the port and the Dunedin City Council have also spiked since the arrival of the ships.

Complaints have also been made by residents living near the Port of Napier and Lyttelton where the ships also berth.

The noise comes from the generators the ships uses to power the refrigerated containers onboard.

A petition signed by more than 140 residents asking the council to help address the issue was presented to the planning and environment meeting this afternoon.

Port Otago chairman Kevin Winders also made a presentation to the council and said a possible solution was being explored where a large “silencer” would be installed onto the exhaust from the generator but an initial trial would still take up to four months.

"This is not a five minute fix, we’ve got a bit of a rigmarole to go through before we can get this signed off," Mr Winders said.

The muffler or silencer would change the noise - described as being like a V-8 engine running in a driveway - rather than reduce it, he said.

The aim was to return to a noise which was as close as possible as what was produced by the L-Class ships, which the Rio Class replaced.

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