Bahía Blanca

Province of Buenos Aires
Lat 38°47’S Long 62°16’W
Charts: Arg H-211, 212, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259.
BA 1331, 3066, 3755
US 23030, 23121, 23122, 23124, 23126, 23128


General description: The port known collectively as Bahía Blanca, comprises two ports under the administration of a consortium (Consorcio de Gestión del Puerto de Bahía Blanca), both at the estuary’s end on the northern side, as encountered:
Ingeniero White and Puerto Galván. Between these, two new quays are under construction, named PROFERTIL and MEGA, (fertilizers and gas-by products). Also in the northern side but not belonging to the Bahía Blanca port, we can find Puerto Rosales and Puerto Belgrano, the latter being the country’s principal Naval Base.
The estuary is under surveillance by means of a Vessel Traffic System (VTS); two radars covering all the channel provide raw data to the system , which monitors vessels’ entries/departures; actual tidal height information available in VHF # 73.



Puerto Rosales: Minor port used by launches transferring crew/stores to vessels at anchor. Small fishing craft also use this port, coming alongside being subject to tide. Studies are carried out for this port to be operated as a free zone. Nearby, off Punta Ancla and Punta Cigüeña and adjacent to channel buoys 19 and 21 are two SPM buoys used by tankers discharging and loading crude oil to and from the adjacent EBYTEN SA tank farm and/or pipeline for local distribution. The tank capacity is 480.000 cbm The buoys are served by 30" pipelines permitting unloading rates of around 3.000 cbm/h. Depth at the buoys is about 18,30 m (60 ft), however drafts are governed by channel depths, and presently maximum draft permitted is 13,70 m (45 ft). Deadweight limitation at the buoys is 67.500 and 100.000 ton respectively. Pilots not required if draft < 8,20 m (27 ft) and Argentine recognized crew. All other cases compulsory. Vessel DWT > 70.000 ton, pilot and tug tied at stern required during operations. Speed of current up to 2 knots.


Puerto Belgrano: This is the principal Argentine Naval Base. It consists of an anteport and basin, at the end of which floating and graving docks are located. The entrance channel about 2 miles above Punta Cigueña is 1,7 miles long, 150 meters wide and dredged to about 9,15 m (30 ft) at datum. Measurements of the principal dry docks are:
N°1 graving dock 220 m x 22 m.
N°2 graving dock 234 m x 35 m.
Unlimited naval, electronic and electrical repairs available at Naval Arsenal. Vessels in transit off the naval base must be prepared to dip their ensigns as necessary. Masters are warned occasional gunnery practice takes place from coastal batteries and care is necessary when navigating or anchoring within security zones and regard should be had to any warnings given. The local PNA (Coastguard) notify ships in good time if practices are due to take place and pilots are, of course, familiar with the corresponding signals.

Puerto Ingeniero White: The installations from east to west are:
Comandante Luis Piedrabuena pier (Glencore - Toepfer Terminal)
Terminal Bahía Blanca (ex NGB) Grain Elevator. Berths 5/6, 7/8, 9.
Cargill Elevator and berth.
National Wharf, for general and reefer cargoes.
N.B/ For all grain berths see notes on Maximum LOA, depths, drafts, loadrates.

COMANDANTE LUIS PIEDRABUENA PIER: Originally built to serve nearby power station, now adapted as grain terminal. Length 200 m with additional mooring tower 118 m beyond at eastern end and viaduct 780 m long at western end joining pier to shore. Fitted with four travelling grain loading towers and more recently with conveyor belt extending the entire length of viaduct/pier, joining same with 55.000 ton grain storage on shore. Cape size vessels load.

TERMINAL BAHÍA BLANCA: Berths 5/6 and 7/8 located on either side of original elevator loading wharf; length 300 m. Overhead gallery fitted with 4 belts feeding 12 chutes. Vessels may lie aground at low tide as from about 8,80 m (29 ft), bottom soft mud and sand. N°9 berth, of later construction lies at 60° angle to berths 5/6 and 7/8. Length 229 m with outlying bollards giving overall length 294 m. Overhead gallery presently fitted with 3 belts, 5 chutes. Cape size vessels load.

CARGILL ELEVATOR: Of modern construction. Berthing is at 3 interconnected dolphins; overall length 280 m. At overhead gallery 2 belts feed 3 multi directional loading arms fitted with adjustable trimmers. Cape size vessels load. Grain storage capacity 144.000 ton plus 22.800 cbm vegoil tanks. Berth fitted with vegoil pipeline, loadrate up to 1800 TPH.

UNDERGROUND SILOS: 6 km from Ingeniero White there are underground silos of 300.000 ton capacity, originally used by NGB and now leased to private shippers.

NATIONAL (MCG) WHARF: This is a partially enclosed area where berths 17, 18 and 19 on the northern side offer a continuous quay frontage of 450 m. Partially opposite on the south western side, N°20 berth offers a frontage of 210 m. There are 3 obsolete dockside cranes of 3 T SWL. All berths suitable for gencargo/reefer operations and there are cold stores adjacent to berths 18, 19 and 20. The eastern side of the entrance to these berths is used by small fishing vessels. Depths alongside range from 4,90 to 7,30 m (16 to 24 ft).

Puerto Galván: This is a large quay with 11 berths situated 2 km west of Ing. White. Quay frontage is not continuous, the berths being stepped inwards and separated one from another. Berths on the eastern side are all open; the inner berths 7 to 11 being of no consequence. Of the outer berths N°6 is 120 m in length and N°5 249 m. N°5 berth has 2x35 ton SWL dockside cranes with 8 ton grab fittings. It has a wide quay space and is used for discharging fertilizers and for container operations.

On the western side, berths 1 and 4 are of little consequence, the important berths being 2 and 3 which have been adapted to give a common front of 270 m for loading from the OMHSA (Moreno) grain elevator. The loading gallery is fitted with 2 belts and 4 ton/chutes Both grain and pellets are exported from the silos of 140.000 ton capacity. A vegoil pipe line is laid on to the N°2 berth from storage tanks ashore of 40.000 cbm capacity. (see also Max LOA, depth, draft, loadrates, tugs).

Oil Tanker/Gas Carrier Terminals: Immediately west of the Galván N°1 berth is the Polisur floating petro-chemical plant and beyond that the viaduct running out to the tanker berths (postas) N°s 1 (oil tankers) and 2 (gas carriers) operated by Bahía Petróleo S.A. Piping for these berths is carried from the shore along the viaduct and the jetty to the central loading platforms. Both berths consist of 4 berthing dolphins with central loading platforms of 31x21 m and outlying berthing dolphins giving an overall berth length of 371 m each (see also max LOA, depth, draft, loadrates and tugs).

New piers: Two new factories are being built between Ing. White and Puerto Galván: PROFERTIL will produce fertilizer, expected to be 1.000.000 tons of urea and 650.000 tons of ammonia, both yearly, expor t and domestic; pier already constructed, 270 m long operating a conveyor and chutes, depth alongside 13,70 m (45 ft), to be operative ending 2000. Mega will produce hydrocarbon-by products, for domestic and export markets; pier under construction, also to be 270 m long and 13,70 m (45 ft) depth alongside; to be in operation middle 2001.

Entrance Channel: The channel, from the fairway buoy to Puerto Galvan is 55 miles long and 190 m wide and commences at the Rincón buoy, located at 39°24’S 61°29’W and 26 miles SSW of the Recalada Light House (39°00’S 61°16’W). Due to its exposed position the Rincón buoy is liable to drift or have defective lighting and masters are recommended to exercise caution in this respect. VTS provides updated information on channel buoys condition (VHF #73). Vessels proceed up the channel without a pilot as far as buoy 11.

Anchorages: If there is no pilot on station, vessels must anchor eastwards of buoy 11. Agents should be consulted regularly as to availability of pilots, least depths to be encountered, permitted drafts as also number of vessels anchored awaiting berth. A shift of anchorage from buoy 11 to the inner anchorage at buoy 17, if so required, can be arranged with pilotage assistance, however the cost of pilot, launch, etc is about USD 1000. Inbound vessels may also be required by Coast Guard (PNA) to provisionally anchor at buoy N°4.

Restrictions in channel: At present the following regulations apply whilst navigating in the estuary channel.
1) Maximum permitted LOA 250 m; a tolerance of +5% of LOA may be granted by Coastguard on request (ship LOA 268, beam 41m and loading 100.000 tons has berthed); draft 13,70 m (45 ft).
2) U.K.C. not less than 10% of draft at all times.
3) Maximum speed within port area 6 km/h (3 knots).
4) "Bravo" anchorage reserved for departing vessels drawing over 10 m (32’ 10").
5) "Delta" anchorage reserved for tankers waiting to unload at SPM buoys or for vessels over 10 m (32’ 10") draft awaiting favorable tide. Traffic control is exercised by PNA (Coastguard) station.

Depth at datum:
Main channel, between buoys 5 and 6, 13 m (42’ 6"); between buoys 13 and 14, 13,20 m (43’ 4") in 190 m width.
Ing. White access channel between buoys 23 and 24, 12 m (39ft) in 190 m width.
Profertil: 13,70 m (45 ft)
Punta Cigüeña 20 m (65 ft)
Masters must consult Agents regarding updated depth on berths at pertinent quay.

Tugs: Three private companies offer their services as follows:
Satecna Costa Afuera SA:  3 tugboats
Centenario: 2600 HP, bollard pull 39 ton
Libertador: 2700 HP, bollard pull 31 ton. Equipped with a 35 ton winch for salvage
Edimir : 3200 HP, bollard pull 40 ton

Trans-Ona SAMCIF: 2 tugboats
Ona Titán: 2500 HP, bollard pull 37 ton
Ona Botto: 1370 HP, bollard pull 20 ton

Río Luján S.A.: 1 tugboat
Tifón: 3180 HP, bollard pull 40 ton

Pilots: Normally embark, disembark at buoy 11.

Berth assignment: 5-2 days pre-advice to authorities required.

Priorities: Pto. Galván. 5/6: Container vessels
Tanker berth N°2: State Gas Co. vessels.
Terminal B. Blanca, Cargill and OHMSA berths normally used only for purpose for which intended.

Dry-docking facilities: As mentioned in "Puerto Belgrano".

Local communications:
Bahía Blanca Radio callsign     LPW R/T on 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 13 Mhz
                                                    VHF ch 16, 26, 27.
Monte Hermoso Radio             VHF ch 16, 28 (08-24 hrs)
PNA (Coastguard) callsign        L2H W/T on 500 Khz
                                                    R/T on 2-4 Mhz
                                                    VHF on ch 16
                                                    L2N VHF on ch 9, 12, 14, 16, 77 (continuous)
Pilots                                           VHF channel 12,
Tugs                                            VHF channel 8.



Bunkers: Stocks available locally. Can be supplied by truck or barge. 3 working days pre advice required. At Puerto Galván N°1 tanker berth bunkers can be supplied by pipeline.

Density: Varies slightly with tide and berth but usually 1.025.

Divers: Available for underwater inspections, photography, repairs. Cleaning of marine growth can be arranged.

Electricity: Available through Port Administration from quay or by hiring mobile generators.

Fenders: Fitted to all berths.

Fresh water: Available from quay or water barge.

Fumigation: Specialized firms offer services.

Garbage: Subject Customs House formalities. Refuse skips can be hired.

Gangway watchmen: Compulsory for all foreign flag vessels over 2000 GRT. Watchmen at Puerto Galván entitled travelling allowance.

Load line: Summer.

Port equipment: Port Administration has 12 mobile cranes, SWL 15-45 ton and various private firms have mobile cranes of up to SWL 50 ton.

Repairs: Various workshops available for usual naval/electrical repairs.

Safety equipment: Three authorized firms offer services.

Salvage: Local tug boats can provide off shore deep sea assistance at about USD 1000 per hour but there are no local salvage companies.

Slops: Reception of small amounts can be arranged. Early advice required.

Stores/victuals: Available. Paint and spares should be ordered in good time.

Warehousing/storage space: Port Administration has 800 sqm bonded warehouse available at Ing. White plus 1 warehouse, 1026 sqm covered area at Puerto Galván. Open storage is available at Ing. White and Puerto Galván.

Average loading rates (subject to good supply of cargo)
Grain. Eseba 750 TPH
Grain. Berths 5/6, 7/8 1500 TPH
Grain. 9 1200 TPH
Grain. Cargill 2400 TPH
Grain. Galván 2/3 1600 TPH
Pellets Galván 2/3 750 TPH
Pallets 180 per gang per 6 hour shift
Vegoil 350/400 TPH
Chemicals 150 TPH
Crude Oil 300/800 CBM PH
Distillates 400 CBM PH
Fuel Oil 300 CBM PH
Liquid Gas 300 CBM PH (Propane and butane)
Frozen Fish 80/100 ton per gang per 6 hour shift
Eucalyptus Logs (5T bundles) 100/120 ton per gang per 6 hour shift