Horns guide ships

THE smoky haze smothering the Gladstone region has created poor visibility on the water with bulk carriers off Gladstone requiring the use of sound signals on Sunday.

Visibility was minimal during the first several hours of the day with a thick blanket of smoky haze from bushfires transcending along the Gladstone Harbour and outwards to nearby islands.

Intermittent blasting of fog horns sounded for a number of hours during the morning as the bulk carriers cautiously navigated their way through the Gladstone shipping channel.

A Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) spokesman said the practice is used in restricted visibility to alert others of their position.

The MSQ spokesman said it was not unusual for a bulk carrier to use sound signals with low visibility occurring frequently locally.

An increase in shipping movements in the harbour is being attributed as the likely cause while the sound signals were more noticeable to local residents on Sunday.

Under MSQ guidelines, boats more than 12 metres should carry sound signals, a whistle and a bell, and vessels more than 100 metres need to carry a gong in addition to the whistle and bell.