Harbour News 29 April to 19 May 2015

36 arrivals for the period


Whitefish totalled 4800 boxes from 13 Anglo Spanish liners and 1 Scottish trawler. Quiet times continue as some of the Spanish fleet return home for a break and the Scottish effort centres on North Sea grounds.

The shellfish sector has also been fairly quiet with prawns very scarce as is always the case in May. The offshore crabbers continue to land weekly with reasonable catches and a couple of dredgers landed good quality clams from local waters.

Non-fishing saw the fishfarm support vessels Norholm, Nitrox and David Andrews in for repairs, layover and collection of a barge respectively.

Ferry Works are largely complete with the Linkspan now open to traffic after a 4 week closure. The new linkspan was shipped from Poland to Ullapool on a 40m work barge towed by the 50 year old tug Cyklop. The voyage of just over 1000 miles was completed in 8 days of fairly settled weather; the only nerve wracking moment for the skipper was negotiating the Pentland Firth in a 5m swell. The linkspan arrived on Thursday 30th April and was skidded onto a smaller barge before being successfully installed on Friday 8th May. It was great to see the experts at work moving 140 tonnes of steel from one barge to another with relative ease. The installation was difficult due to strong SE winds picking up throughout the manoeuvre. Many thanks to Roy Macgregor who saved the day by towing the barge and pushing the linkspan into place, there is no doubt that the installation would have failed on that occasion had Roy not intervened. The Linkspan weight test was successfully carried out with 312 tonnes loaded onto the structure; certification completed thereafter and handed over for use on Friday 15th May. The new linkspan was called into action almost immediately with the first vehicle coming off on the morning of Saturday 16th, 2 days early. During the vehicular closure the opportunity was taken to replace the obsolete and unreliable 30yr old ferry car park weighbridge with a brand new unit.

The contractors have a few snagging items to attend to over the next couple of weeks. Additionally a row of storage units will be erected, the ice plant delivery system replaced plus shot blasting and painting of the ferry pier fender supports will be completed now that the warm dry weather has arrived!

The ferry infrastructure in Ullapool harbour has been replaced without a single cancellation to the timetabled ferry service, quite an achievement. The construction team have been in the village for 18 months with up to 40 men on site daily. In the main the workmen have lived in the village weekly contributing many hundreds of thousands to the local economy. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Ullapool for looking after the workforce and for their patience and understanding over the past 18 months of construction upheaval.