Newman Reef navigation aid refurbishment enhances safety in Torres Strait


The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has completed a major $1.2 million refurbishment of the remote Newman Reef aid to navigation (AtoN), located north-east of Thursday Island (Waiben) in the Torres Strait.

The extensive project, which commenced in November 2023, included crucial updates aimed to improve navigation safety in the region:

  • removal of the existing platform, fenders and ladder access
  • fabrication and installation of a new large diameter pile, fenders, ladder access and stainless steel platform
  • installation of solar power supply and AtoN equipment, stainless steel enclosures and lightning protection system.


This refurbishment will enhance shipping safely through the pristine waters of the Torres Strait and is part of the ongoing program of major works delivered by AMSA around Australia, ensuring navigation aids are fit-for-purpose and modernised.

This refurbishment was carried out using a 33-metre utility vessel, 50 metre construction barge and 80-tonne crane, with the barge and crane manoeuvred alongside the AtoN by two smaller craft.

AMSA Manager of Asset Management & Preparedness Mike Wytcherley emphasised that the completion of this complex project - on time and on budget - demonstrated AMSA’s commitment to maintaining a world-class AtoN network.

“Undertaking such a complex job in a remote area with specialised equipment presents significant challenges and we commend the contractor, Pacific Marine Group, for the successful completion of this project,” he said.

“Vessels passing through the Torres Strait rely on these aids to navigation to keep them safe. 

“This marker warns seafarers of the low-lying Newman Reef, which poses a significant hazard that is often difficult to see from sea level.” 

More information about AMSA’s AtoN maintenance program can be found here: Maintenance delivery on aids to navigation (AtoN) (

Images and video of the refurbishment can be found here:


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