Harbour News 6-28 April 2015

 52 arrivals for the period

 Whitefish totalled 18,500 boxes from 17 Anglo Spanish liners, 2 Anglo Spanish freezers, 9 Scottish trawlers and a very rare landing from a Scottish seine netter. The line fishing vessels continue to profit from a period of very settled weather and excellent fishing along the Shelf Edge. The freezer vessels using monofilament nets and creels tend to land every 6-8 weeks putting ashore processed monkfish and deepwater crab. The Scottish vessels have been chasing haddock at Rockall with varying degrees of success. The more powerful trawlers have arrived with full boats every landing whereas the pair and single seine netters have struggled to catch. Most Scottish vessels have exhausted their Rockall quota and have returned to more traditional North Sea grounds.

The shellfish sector has seen steady landings from the visiting prawn trawlers who continue to fish well. The local creel vessels are starting to undertake annual maintenance and gear repair as is always the case at this time of the year when fishing tails off. The offshore crabbers continue to land weekly although fishing for them has also dropped away. The harbour saw 2 fishing vessels sail away for the last time with the local boats Franchise heading for Cornwall and the Arnborg for Barra.

Non-fishing saw the fishfarm support vessel Ronja Sky in for a crew change and the Dutch sailing vessel Tecla in to drop off local girl Sara Johnson who had sailed over from Holland as part of the crew. Built in 1915 as a herring lugger the Tecla was refitted and converted to a sail training vessel in 1989 and regularly participates in the Tall Ship races. Tecla sailed from Ullapool to St Kilda before heading to Islay and Rhum on route to Oban, hopefully she will return in 2016. Wylde Swan returned to Rotterdam this week after spending the winter in the Caribbean. The ship will undergo a period of maintenance and painting plus reinstatement of her top masts which are removed for the winter transatlantic crossings.  The Wylde Swan voyages are virtually sold out with only 1 or 2 places left on the St Kilda trips, check their website for details. http://www.wyldeswan.com/sail-along/.

Ferry Works continue to progress well; the ferry operator Calmac has moved back into the newly refurbished terminal building, with the temporary port-a-cabins being removed next week. The old linkspan was lifted out by the Matador floating crane on the 21st April and the new linkspan arrives on site 29th, and will be floated in over the weekend. The concrete approach roadway is all but complete; the box junction and harbour access road will be resurfaced on the 14th May.

The Loch Seaforth daily passenger only service has been fairly well used, particularly at weekends with 100+ passengers on some sailings. On completion of the linkspan replacement project scheduled for the 18th May, the Loch Seaforth will undertake 2 passenger sailings and a further overnight freight sailing each day. The previous freight vessel Clipper Ranger will be released from contract and leave the route. The Isle of Lewis has been committed to 2 additional crossings weekly on a Friday and Saturday afternoon to augment the busy summer sailings.

UHT would once again like to apologise for any inconvenience caused throughout the 18 months of pier works which are finally coming to a conclusion.