TODAY is the last day at work for port controller Allan Breivik, who started his career with Lerwick Port Authority exactly 40 years ago.
Mr Breivik, 63, was born in Lerwick and went to sea school at the Dolphin, Leith, before going to sea. He then joined the port authority and spent the next 29 years on harbour boats, pilot boats and tugs, 27 of those years as skipper, before becoming a port controller 11 years ago.
He said: “When I came home from the sailing if someone had told me I’d still be here in five years I’d have said they were speaking rubbish. Time has gone so fast. I started 40 years ago today, on 12th November 1968, and when I finally leave [after taking holidays] it will be 40 years and one month.”
He will miss his job, he said, but will enjoy his retirement when he intends to “laze about, do a bit of fishing and look after the family”.
In his time on the harbour boats Mr Breivik has seen his fair share of disasters, including being involved with the Russian klondykers Pionersk and Lunakhods, and has taken part in many rescues by taking boats off beaches.
He has also saved a number of lives. One incident in the 1970s sticks out in his mind. “It was late at night and we’d been doing a pilot job with the old Bard. We were coming back by the pier (now the Bressay ferry pier) and I happened to look out of the starboard window and saw a man clinging to the pier. It was a matter of hauling him out as soon as possible.”
Mr Breivik, the pilot and two crew managed to rescue the man, a visiting fisherman, with a lifebelt and boathook. The incident had been perilously close to disaster: “If I hadn’t seen him he’d have been gone.”
Retirement will not be so dramatic but his children and grandchildren will keep him busy.