Big expansion plans for Lerwick harbour –

Big expansion plans for Lerwick harbour Published:  19 December, 2008

LERWICK harbour is planning to start work on a major expansion next year to help it cope with the growing number and size of ships visiting the town.

In recent years Britain’s northernmost post has had difficulty

accommodating the sheer volume of vessels wanting to land fish or base North Sea oil and gas operations in Shetland.

The beginning of this month saw Lerwick’s biggest ever fish landings and last weekend the harbour struggled to find space for all the boats wishing to shelter from the south easterly swell.

Yesterday Lerwick Port Authority’s 11 strong board gave their backing to a £7 million capital programme including new deep water berths and a major new fish market.

LPA chief executive Sandra Laurenson warned that after an extremely

successful couple of years with heavy white fish landings and the port’s first ever oil rig decommissioning project, they would see a slowdown of activity in 2009 due to declining herring and blue whiting quotas and a lack of new decommissioning work.

However having completed the £12 million dredging project this year,

delayed by two years by a court interdict taken out by Shetland Islands Council over plans for a bridge across the harbour, the port is now ready for its next stage of development, she said.

The newly dredged nine metre channel has cleared the way for two extra deep water berths at Greenhead for oil supply vessels and reefer ships loading fish, while land around the Point of Scattland can be reclaimed to improve access to fish processors Shetland Catch and Lerwick Fish Traders.

The third project, on which work is due to start next year, is a new quay which will provide space for a large new, single storey, energy efficient fish market with a six-metre berth, electronic auction hall and offices at Mair’s Yard, north of Holmsgarth.

A fourth marine project is being scheduled for later on, involving an

extension to the Holmsgarth north jetty to give the larger fishing boats more space to work.

Ms Laurenson said the harbour was constantly struggling to accommodate the number of vessels wanting to use it and expansion was the only way forward.

She said it would probably take at least two years to complete the work.