Lerwick harbour sees rise in North Sea oil vessels

THE number of North Sea oil industry vessels using Lerwick harbour in Shetland rose by almost ten per cent last year as a result of the port’s expanded deep-water facilities.

Lerwick Harbour has seen a rise in the number of North Sea oil vessels using its facilities. Picture: Mike Pennington

And the value of fish landed at the harbour rose by a staggering 23 per cent in 2013, according to the annual report of Lerwick Port Authority.

A spokesman for the authority said: “The number of oil-related vessels calling jumped 9.6 per cent to 683, compared to 2012, with the tonnage up 28 per cent to 3.8 million gross tonnes and the cargo handled by 36 per cent to 189,090 tonnes.

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“There was a total of 5,416 vessel arrivals last year, up 4.9 per cent, with the tonnage of all ships ahead by 5.5 per cent to 13.2 million gross tonnes.“

Fish landings totalled 66,745 tonnes, valued at £62.5 million, up 8.6 per cent by volume and 23 per cent by value.

Sandra Laurenson, Lerwick Port Authority’s chief executive, said: “In a very busy year, our investment in enhanced facilities again paid off. On top of regular traffic, the port handled various projects demonstrating the capacity of the deep-water harbour, including storing and transhipping modules weighing up to 450 tonnes for the Shetland Gas Plant and accommodating several floatels housing construction workers.“

She continued: “The outlook is positive for the foreseeable future and we are progressing further developments to maximise the opportunities in various sectors.”

Cruise passenger numbers, however, fell during the year by 29 per cent to 26,684. Ms Laurenson said: “The cruise season was affected by one-off factors relating to specific operators. Bookings for this year indicate a strong recovery, with around 46,000 passengers expected.”