Scientific studies commenced in 2018 and are being conducted to assess the Ashburton Salt project’s potential environmental impact. They have involved monthly two-day trips upon Terrafirma Offshore’s ‘FD3’ vessel, as well an etended scientific investigation on the 24m live-a-board vessel 'Kuri Pearl ll', that sleeps 16 people.

K+S Salt Australia Managing Director Gerrit Gödecke said he was grateful a local supplier was available to provide an ideal solution to a unique problem.

“Large parts of the water and salt flat regions south of Onslow are practically impossible to access by land,” Mr Gödecke said.

“In addition, transporting scientists safely by water requires specialist vessels and local knowledge of the waters and weather conditions.

“We were delighted to learn that an Exmouth supplier could provide marine services for offshore oceanographic, hydrographic and geophysical surveys.

“It is in keeping with our commitment to using local suppliers where possible.”

Terrrafirma Offshore’s Director, Daemon Bass, said the company operates a fleet of vessels and personnel equipped to undertake a range of environmental investigations. This includes the recently completed, high speed, multipurpose transfer and survey vessel, OPTIMUS 1000 and Barge MINTOX.

“Our team has experience providing support for intertidal, shallow and deep-water studies, from the initial work required for the client’s Environmental Impact Study to the extended baseline,” said Mr Bass.

“We are based centrally in Exmouth and can also provide support with offshore transfers of personnel, supplies, and equipment or onshore maintenance.”

As well as supporting a local business, the long-term contract from K+S has enabled Terrafirma Offshore to employ and train a young Exmouth local, Corey Ogg.

“Corey came to us a year ago at 18 with little training and limited experience,” said Mr Bass.

“We are really happy to have been able to give him the training required to be an asset to our business and his future career. His qualifications and experience mean he can work anywhere – but we hope to keep him busy here in Exmouth”

From left: Tobias Thönelt and Gerrit Gödecke from the K+S team with Corey Ogg and Daemon Bass from Terrafirma Offshore.