Oil activity up at Lerwick Harbour

The offshore industry helped boost activity at Lerwick Harbour through 2019.

Oil industry-related vessels using the port’s facilities were up seven per cent on the previous year, including a 28% rise in supply and anchor handling ships – the overall tonnage was up 26 per cent.

It was an improving picture for the oil and gas sector’s fortunes, reflected in marine traffic statistics from Lerwick Port Authority (LPA).

Shipments to-and-from the sector’s operations in the North Sea and Atlantic jumped 49 per cent to 76,171 tonnes compared to the previous year.

LPA chief executive Calum Grains called the upturn in offshore activity “good news for Lerwick and Shetland” which had been “driven by the gradual recovery across the sector, including subsea decommissioning support – one of the port’s specialisms – and more seismic research, another good sign”.

A record number of cruise ships called into the port in 2019, despite a shortfall in expected cruise passengers due to vessel cancellations.

The number of ferry passengers on the Aberdeen and Kirkwall routes also increased during that time, rising by 10.2 per cent to 148,937.

However, the overall number of vessels dropped three per cent to 5,068.

White fish landed during the year was also down by eight per cent, with 230,081 boxes in total for the nine months to December.

“There were the usual movements across the sectors at Lerwick where diversity of traffic is a feature. The impact of Brexit discussions on the fishing industry and quota cuts for cod and herring are concerns, but there are upcoming highlights to look forward to in 2020,” Captain Grains added.

“These include completion of the replacement white fish market and a new heavy duty decommissioning pad, and another record-breaking cruise season, with strong future bookings. The arrival of the Ninian Northern platform’s topside for decommissioning and mobilisation and load-out of a Floating Production, Storage and Offshore vessel’s mooring system will both provide work beyond this year.”


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