The £11.95m quay extension project at Lerwick Harbour’s deep water Dales Voe Base has reached an important milestone, with the first large vessels using the new facility.
The expansion has seen the quayside extended by 75m to 130m to service a range of offshore activities, including subsea projects and decommissioning work.
Last week the coaster Eendracht was the first to use the completed first phase of the quay when it berthed to unload kit for an offshore contract off Canada. And, earlier this week, the day after the second phase was handed over by contractors to Lerwick Port Authority, Subsea 7’s 18,666 tonne, 146-m Seven Waves tied up to load the equipment.
To mark the occasion Captain Calum Grains, the port authority’s harbour master and deputy chief executive, and the organisation’s offshore manager, John Seldon, presented a commemorative plaque to the Seven Waves’ captain, Marcin Trejtowicz.
Another, larger offshore vessel is expected to berth at the base next week.
Yesterday Capt Grains said that, while there were still some works to be completed at the facility, he was delighted to see it open for business.
He said: “Seven Waves is an early harbinger of the type of work which the expanded Dales Voe Base, with its enormous capacity, quay strength, water depth and laydown space, is ideally suited for in supporting a wide range of offshore industry projects.
“Remaining infrastructure works are soon to be completed and the principal contractor, BAM Nuttall has delivered an excellent quality asset to the port.”
He added: “The facility is multi-purpose, designed to serve different sectors, but we very much have an eye to decommissioning work in developing it.”
Complementary works at the base, including reclamation, laydown yard and demolition of a redundant building, will continue until the autumn carried out by local contractor, FL Johnston.
The Shetland port is a long-established and leading centre of support for the offshore industry in the northern North Sea and in the Atlantic to the west, including subsea development projects and decommissioning.
The Scottish Government and development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise provided £2.9m grant funding for the expansion project, with Bank of Scotland supporting Lerwick Port Authority’s investment.
Civil engineers Arch Henderson LLP were appointed to handle design and project management for what is one of the organisation’s largest infrastructure developments in recent years.
Earlier this week figures from the port authority showed mixed fortunes across the sectors using Lerwick Harbour, Shetland’s main commercial port, in the first half of 2016.
The statistics included a significant increase in cruise traffic and higher fish landings, but a predicted fall in offshore-related activity which was also reflected in less cargo handled.
Vessel arrivals were down 2% to 2,326 in the six months to June, compared with the same period last year, including a 28% drop in oil-related movements and a 16% decline in their tonnage at 1.15 million gross tonnes. However, the volume and size of cruise vessels meant the overall tonnage of shipping was virtually unchanged – up 0.2% at 5.5 million gross tonnes.
Cargo over the port’s quays reduced by 9% to 455,896 tonnes, including a 16% fall in oil-related shipments, at 63,143 tonnes.