Harbour News 7-31 May 2020

Harbour News 7 – 31 May 2020, 34 arrivals for the period 

Ullapool Harbour Trust continues to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic; we are supporting vital transport links to the Western Isles together with handling routine fishing and commercial traffic. Harbour services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we can be contacted by phone, email and VHF.  We are observing strict social distancing and hygiene measures.   

The ferry is presently making two daily runs for essential lifeline and freight services and this arrangement is in place until 15th July.  The overnight service has been temporarily suspended and the operator Calmac has restricted ferry terminal opening times in line with arrivals.   

Whitefish landings totalled 18,700 boxes from thirteen Scottish trawl, sixteen Anglo longline and one Anglo freezer netter landing. The Rockall haddock fishery has been very productive during lockdown with ~ 100,000 boxes landed and consigned to processors in Peterhead for the home market. The fishing has quietened down and only a handful of boats are working west at the moment. The Anglo fleet has been targeting hake west of the Butt of Lewis for the past couple of weeks; the boats are landing good shots weekly for onward consignment to Spain. 

The shellfish sector has been very quiet since lockdown – the markets have been closed and processors  have been cautious about purchasing live product. The local fleet is at sea this week so hopefully things will pick up for them in the near future. 

Non-fishing activities were restricted to a visit from the MCA emergency towing vessel Ievoli Blue for equipment and the tug Goliath towing the landing craft Caridh Ann. Goliath sailed from Southampton and delivered a reconditioned bulk carrier to Tanera Mor before heading to Kyle and collecting the Caridh Ann for delivery to Greenland.  

Oil and fuel in the water has been an unwelcome addition to village life in recent weeks and is unacceptable. Ullapool Harbour Trust recently invested £800K in new tanks, pipework and an interceptor to improve fuel storage and pier-side delivery.   Additionally the harbour provides a free waste oil and filter collection facility which collects 25,000 litres of oil annually.

Approximately 18 million litres of fuel is sold and delivered annually either by the harbour’s tenant Highland Fuels (who lease the pier infrastructure) or third party fuel companies via road tankers. When fuel is delivered the fuel company operator monitors the pump and remains on the pier throughout the fuelling process.  The vessel being fuelled must provide a qualified person to monitor the on-board tanks and gauges. Almost 100% of spills occur on board vessels; the most common cause of spillages is due to over-filling tanks. That said, the issues experienced in recent weeks were caused by mechanical failure on board two old and neglected vessels, a burst fuel hose on one boat and a burst hydraulic hose on the other. 

It is essential for Ullapool Harbour Trust to enjoy the co-operation and considerate best practise of all vessel owners in order to undertake our environmental responsibilities, and we continue to work proactively to eliminate incidents such as these.