Lerwick harbour had an “exceptionally good year” in 2011, according to chief executive Sandra Laurenson, with tonnage 15 per cent up on last year.
While not an all-time record, the 11,265,000 gross tonnage of shipping which visited the port up to 31st December was almost a million and a half gross tonnes more than the 2010 total of 9,796,734 gross tonnes.
The number of vessels using the harbour was also up: 5,422 came to the harbour in 2011 compared to 5,342 in 2010.
The biggest increase was in oil-related traffic. Last year saw the arrival of 59 diving support ships, 36 seismic vessels, 109 stand-by vessels and 154 supply vessels – this year the totals were 81, 66, 137and 271 respectively.
Three pipe layers came to the harbour last year – there were none in 2010.
Ms Laurenson said: “This growth is tremendous. We’re looking forward to a busy year [in 2012] and hoping for more subsea and offshore projects.”
There was also a rise in cruise ship visits, with 51 in 2011 compared to 48 in 2010 and more ro-ro arrivals, 626 last year up from 567 the year before. General cargo arrivals were up slightly, with 131 visits last year compared to 125 in 2010. The Tall Ships event accounted for 71 visits in the sail training class compared to 26 the previous year.
However traffic in some areas was down slightly. There were 60 fewer tug visits, down from 208 to 148, and 14 fewer workboat arrivals, down from 305 to 291. Live fish carriers were down from 437 to 424, reefers down from 43 to 35 and there were no bulk cargo carrier visits, although there had been four in 2010.