A giant offshore wind farm construction vessel was a fitting backdrop for Port of Aberdeen (PoA) bosses to mark the end of quayside construction work in a £420 million expansion of the historic harbour.
PoA chief executive Bob Sanguinetti said Fred Olsen Windcarrier’s Blue Tern, boasting 40,365ft of deck space and currently carrying turbines and blades destined for the Neart na Gaoithe wind farm in the Firth of Forth, is exactly the kind of vessel the enlarged harbour will see more of.
PoA is now offcicially Scotland’s largest port in terms of berthage capacity, thanks to its five miles of quayside.
Harbour gearing up for big September events
With the new south harbour now fully operational, it’s all systems go for its official opening by the Princess Royal on Friday September 22. There is also a public open day on Sunday 24 September.
Aberdeen marks another key milestone during September, with the long-awaited full reopening of Greyhope Road. The coastal route going past Torry Battery to the south harbour entrance has been partially closed due to south harbour costruction since 2017.
Mr Sanguietti said the completion of quayside construction was a big moment but added: “This is a really exciting day for the port and for the region.
“But we are certainly not kicking back and relaxing. This is where the fun starts.”
The trust port’s management team aims to “build on the very successful start we have had since the first ship came in (to the south harbour) in July last year, he explained.
Future activity will be focused on “continuing to support the region’s energy sector through its transition”, as well as attracting more and bigger cruise ships, the CEO said.
The port is also “very well-placed” to secure more cargo work, taking vehicles off Scotland’s road network, he added.
Short-notice repair job could not have been done in Aberdeen before
Pausing to look at Blue Tern, which is about 520ft long and 164ft wide, and carries a 1,200-ton main crane, he said: “This is exactly the sort of vessel we have been trying to bring in and want to see more of.”
Blue Tern arrived in Aberdeen for repairs at short notice, Mr Sanguinetti said, adding the Granite City’s near 900-year-old harbour would not have been able to accommodate this size of vessel in the past.
Next month’s open day will feature vessel tours, exhibitions, children’s entertainment and “quality food and refreshments from local providers”.
More than 3,000 free tickets have been secured by members of the public within a week of them becoming available on the Eventbrite website. The booking portal is still open.
Mr Sanguietti said: “”We look forward to welcoming everyone to see this transformational development first hand.”
Meanwhile, PoA has also unveiled a “newly refreshed website” highlighting Aberdeen’s new-found status as “Scotland’s largest berthage port”.
Port of Aberdeen is the UK’s oldest existing business. It was established as a commercial enterprise in 1136 by King David I of Scotland.