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Port enjoys oil boom

The ROV support vessel, Fugro Symphony, at the port’s new quay at Greenhead, loading reels for a major subsea project in the North Sea - Photo: LPA

LERWICK harbour’s hub role in servicing the offshore industry was underlined this week when the port authority published traffic figures for the first three months of the year.

Tonnage of oil-related cargo and shipping both more than doubled compared with the same period in 2011.

With the number of support vessels using Lerwick up 82 per cent at 127, the tonnage rose by 120 per cent at 508,575 gross tonnes, with cargo handled up 102.7 per cent at 24,254 tonnes.

The larger vessels operating in the offshore sector were the main reason for increased pilotage movements – 273, an increase of 36 per cent.

Lerwick Port Authority’s deputy chief executive Victor Sandison said: “Increasing oil-related activity in the first quarter again demonstrated the value of the investment in deep-water infrastructure, including the latest berth at Greenhead which was brought into use ahead of schedule in February to support a major North Sea project.

“While specific factors had negative influence on two key sectors – passenger traffic and fish landings – the outlook for the port is positive, with the prospect of a record cruise season and continuing strong offshore industry activity.”

However, ferry passenger numbers were down by 12 per cent to 17,195, and fish landings decreased by 38 per cent to 13,896 tonnes.

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