Vessels have begun using Lerwick Port Authority’s new 151-metre long quay at Mair’s Yard in the past few days.
The first was Streamline’s Daroja last week, followed on Saturday by offshore support vessel the Stril Explorer, which was still tied up at the new quay on Monday.
Local firm Tulloch Developments completed construction of the dock and handed it over to the LPA on 21st August. The quay, built on 1.45 hectares of reclaimed land, lies at the north end of Lerwick between the power station and Holmsgarth jetty.
A modern whitefish market is to be built on the quay as part of the overall £3.17 million development.
LPA chief executive Sandra Laurenson said “tyre fender” mats were being installed to make the berth suitable for the fishing fleet. In the meantime, larger vessels can use floating fenders. The berth is six metres deep, meaning it is only fit for certain vessels.
Ms Laurenson said she expected a third accommodation barge to house workers involved in the Total gas plant project would arrive sometime in September.
It is likely to take up the north half of Mair’s Quay until June 2014 “at the latest” – leaving the south half of the quay to be used by fishing boats.
Meanwhile, a seventh berth at the Greenhead Base should be made available from November.
The 9-metre deep Berth 7 will provide an extra 100 metres of quay, an extension to the 100-metre plus Berth 6. The latter was brought into operation early to support a subsea installation contract in February 2012, since when it has been in constant use by various offshore contractors.
The two Greenhead quays cost £7.6 million, taking LPA investment to more than £74 million since the 1960s. It will take the amount of quayside available at the Greenhead Base beyond 780 metres.
It all comes at a boom time for the LPA thanks to a frenzy of oil and gas activity either side of Shetland, along with the opportunities presented by decommissioning. The port authority is taking delivery of equipment for onward transport by sea and road for the under-construction gas plant.
Ms Laurenson said Berth 7 would come into use as soon as it was available. “The positive outlook for the foreseeable future underlines our proactive strategy for the continuing development of the port, with an anticipated capital spend of more than £20 million within the next two years.”
Schemes include more sites for industry and further deep water berths.