Significant improvements to benefit port users and create new opportunities.

Lerwick Port Authority is seeking a contractor for a major dredging project which will lead to further significant improvements in vessel access and create opportunities for future developments, both benefiting a range of port users.

Four contractors from the UK and Europe are being invited to bid for the work which will involve removing around 700,000 cubic metres of seabed, including good quality rock. It will be the largest single dredging project yet at the port. Depending on dredging plant availability, the Authority hopes to have the dredging completed in 2008.

Dredging to a minimum of -9 metres water depth will take place at the port’s north entrance and north channel and at the access to the Shetland Catch factory at Gremista and the Shetland Fish Products (SFP) factory across the harbour at Heogan, on the island of Bressay.

The existing north entrance is already 9 metres deep, but the dredging will widen the entrance channel by 50 metres to this depth. The north channel at Point of Scotland is currently constrained at 6 metres depth.

Berthing at Shetland Catch is limited at present by only 7.5 metres of water and large trawlers drawing 9 metres can only gain access at certain tides. The depth at Heogan is currently 7 metres. The project will facilitate the use of both Shetland Catch and SFP berths by the larger vessels now operating.

Lerwick Port Authority Chief Executive, Sandra Laurenson, said: ““The improvements will bring significant benefits to port users, current and future. For example, the fish catching sector and processors will gain, and deeper and wider access will also suit offshore industry vessels which will be able to transit through the port, rather than going round Bressay. The reclaimed areas will provide locations for expansion of facilities and services.

“The widened access is key to future oil-related decommissioning barge activity by creating the opportunity to bring a number of barges to Lerwick for a single project and move them from different, sheltered berths in the harbour to the decommissioning pad at the Greenhead Base as required.”

The Port Authority plans to use the dredged materials to reclaim two areas, totalling 7.39 hectares (over 18 acres), for future development – one reclamation site is north of the Greenhead Base, the other at the Arlanda area, between Gremista Marina and Gremista Pier.

Additional site investigation is to be undertaken by Fugro Seacore in preparation for the dredging and future quay construction, with the contractor beginning mobilisation to Lerwick this week.

The Authority is also looking further ahead, including extending Greenhead Base; creating additional deep-water berths at Holmsgarth; developing a site for a future new fish market; redeveloping Gremista Quay and Arlanda for deep-water berthing; how best to develop specialist offshore decommissioning berths; redeveloping the existing fishmarket site and creating deep-water berths in the town centre; meanwhile retaining the option to deepen the harbour again in the future if there is a need to create new berths to -10 metres.

*Mid-September is expected to see the offloading of the largest single offshore structure yet shipped to Lerwick for decommissioning. The modules support frame, weighing 8,800 tonnes, was delivered from the TOTAL E&P NORGE AS-operated Frigg field to SBS Logistics’ Greenhead Base on a transport barge. SBS Logistics, Veolia Environmental Services and Saipem are partners in an Aker Kvaerner-led consortium which won a £250 million contract to dismantle, recycle and dispose of Frigg field production facilities in Norway and Shetland.

** Lerwick Port Authority is exhibiting on the Shetland stand (593 in the Red Zone) at the Offshore Europe exhibition in Aberdeen from 4-7 September, 2007.

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