Harbour News 9th – 22nd June 2015

39 Arrivals for the Period

Whitefish totalled 6400 boxes from seven Anglo Spanish liners and five Scottish trawlers. The Anglo fleet continue to fish very well with boats landing big hauls of hake and ling weekly.  Scottish effort has returned to Rockall with a few vessels looking to exploit the summer squid fishery. As yet the catches have been quite sporadic but hopefully as the water warms up the stocks will reappear as they have done for the past five years.  The long finned squid Loligo vulgaris spawns year round with especially in the summer months at Rockall, when massive congregations accumulate on the seabed. Squid grow fast and die young with males reaching 40cm in their three-year life whilst females are slightly smaller and only survive for two years.

The Shellfish sector has been very busy with a number of east coast twin riggers fishing for prawns in the Minch and landing twice or three times a week. The offshore crabbers continue to land weekly with lobsters also coming ashore as a bycatch. The local prawn fleet continues to work away with reasonable returns for their efforts.

The non-fishing was very quiet with the fishfarm support tug Tie Venture in for crew and the Dutch Tall Ship Tecla in to collect passengers for a week-long trip to St Kilda. The Tecla returns on the 25th July and immediately sets sail for an eight-day voyage to Belfast. There are a number of berths available for this highly recommended trip south with both Islay and Jura on the itinerary. www.tecla-sailing.com

The cruise ship Boudicca arrival on Friday 26th has been rerouted to Portree.

Ferry works are largely complete with the exception of some shot-blasting and painting and the erection of a series of storage units on the west side of the harbour adjacent to the new linkspan. These units will be leased to the ferry operator for the storage of ships provisions, engineering equipment, brochures and advertising materials.  The new ferry Loch Seaforth continues to serve the route carrying out three return sailings six days a week with a single crossing each Sunday. From 26th June the Isle of Lewis will carry out two additional crossings on a Friday and Saturday afternoon to ease congestion on this busy route.

Tall Ship trainees are getting ready for the trip to Kiel in Germany next Saturday 17th June. Four lucky Ullapool High School students have been offered the chance to work as volunteer crew for the five- day voyage from Kiel to Ullapool. The Wylde Swan departs Kiel on Monday 29th June with the first 61 miles of the voyage through the freshwater Kiel Canal linking the Baltic to the North Sea. The canal which was finished in 1914 is a very busy route with ships of up to 70,000 tonnes able to make the sheltered voyage avoiding the stormy waters of the Jutland Peninsula. The three scheduled trips on Wylde Swan from Ullapool in July are fully booked.  A further 37 trainees have a day-sail round the Summer Isles on 16th July and 21 trainees are undertaking    the trip to Kristiansand in Norway.

RMT members among the workforce of ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne are to go ahead with industrial action after talks failed. On Friday 26th June, the workers plan to hold a 24-hour strike in the dispute over job security, conditions and pensions.