Gold Ribbon Banner
Monday, August 19, 2019
Aberdeen Harbour Extension Project

When I first arrived in Aberdeen in 1968, I couldn’t believe my luck.

For someone who loved ships and the sea it was all I could hope for. Firstly, I noted a good omen. I don’t think of myself as an egotist, but all the local vehicles, especially the buses, bore my initials in their main registration. In my four years stay, I would not only meet lifelong friends, but also my would-be wife. Yes, it had everything, but the wife and such things would come later, fi rst to grab my interest was the port. Straight out of the Railway station, in those days, arrivals were hit by the sight and the perfume of pine resin from thousands of tons of Scandinavian and Russian timber stacked in the open on the quays, an aroma that constantly wafted up to the nearby main shopping streets of the city centre of this magnifi cent place. Of course, I must mention the fi sh or more pungently the fish-meal plant on the harbourside which, again, would permeate the air and it was fortunate indeed the stacked timber tended to keep that in check. Certainly, my aural memory was of timber first and fishmeal second.

And it was a truly multinational port. Russian timber ships were common enough everywhere, but in addition here, there were major Russian bulk carriers, modern engines aft types with phosphates for fertiliser for the Scottish agricultural industry, another major ingredient in the Port of Aberdeen’s thriving inventory. Pulp for paper was another while a large quayside tank-farm installation ensured fuel oil for marine, city and country use was well catered for. Good old fashioned coal was still in relatively high demand and this was shuttled every few days by locally owned MV’s Thrift and Ferryhill in from Methil, Blyth and Seaham to be grabbed into trucks on the Aberdeen dockside for topping up city stockpiles.

Speaking of ‘coals to Newcastle’, there was a local equivalent as a number of Swedish freighters were bringing in granite – yes granite to ‘The Granite City’. And lovely old ships they were. I recall the blue funnelled Montrose and Monarda of the Monark Line.

But the hammer and sickle funnel emblem was a very common sight and big Russian deep sea trawlers and some Polish ones were often in port, not least for fuel and water, but not to land their fi sh – that was required back home in Murmansk, Gdansk and Leningrad. I do recall their bulk fresh water motor tankers would fill up at Aberdeen for the distant fi shing fleet they would replenish later.

These were the heady and worrying days of ‘the cold war’ and a friend of mine of a very cerebral nature, with perhaps more brains than sense, having learned to speak both Czech and Russian took to going aboard the Russian ships which apparently often seemed to carry a ‘commisar’, ie someone who would look after the crew’s political health (or perhaps just spy on them). If he was lucky, he would fi nd the said commissar and berate him about the then recent soviet clampdown on Czechoslovakia and other anti-libertarian transgressions of the communist state. He may not have been welcomed aboard everywhere, but seamen I think often like to revel in a robust exchange of views and he always survived such exchanges without bloodshed. But Aberdeen then was that sort of place.

Coming to the present day, Aberdeen Harbour is expanding with a new harbour on the south side of Girdleness which will serve several strands of port traffi cs including oil service work and the Northern Isles ferry business and may also attract cruise ships. So what is perhaps my favourite city and port has changed hugely in my lifetime. It is still recognisable as its former self, but for how much longer I am not sure. It has proven to be a remarkably dynamic place and its transformation with its AHEP – Aberdeen harbour extension project continues.

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - July 2019 Issue
Click here to subscribe

Subscribe Graphic

Latest Issue - Look Inside!

Boudicca

Most Popular

  • Lifeboat Withdrawn After Some Crew Stood Down +

  • Scorpene Sub Snags +

  • New Crane Lifts Business Growth +

  • Test Spells The End of Paper Bills of Lading +

  • An Unexpected Job in Cuba +

  • 1
  • 2

Latest Products

Maritime Log

  • Lifeboat Withdrawn After Some Crew Stood Down +

    Peterhead Lifeboat Peterhead lifeboat has been taken out of action by the RNLI. Read More
  • Test Spells The End of Paper Bills of Lading +

    CargoX Demo It is possible to stop using the paper Bill of Lading according to a test of CargoX’s blockchain-based Smart Bill Read More
  • New Crane Lifts Business Growth +

    Hull Port A new £3.5mn hybrid Liebherr crane has been delivered to Associated British Ports (ABP) for operation at Hull to support Read More
  • Crowds Tribute to the Last Tyne +

    Annie Blaker The last of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s famous Tyne class lifeboats was launched for the last time at her Read More
  • Clyde’s Vital Role in Onshore Windfarm +

    Clydeport Clydeport has played a vital role in the building of the UK’s largest onshore windfarm on Eaglesham Moor, just 20 Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • Record Set by Largest US Ship for Hawaii Service +

    Lurline The largest combination container, roll-on, roll-off ship ever built in the United States was formerly named in a ceremony at Read More
  • $293mn for Port Projects +

    Long Beach port The United States is to invest $292.7mn in the country’s ports through a new Port Infrastructure Development Programme. Read More
  • Facility Exports First Cargo of Propane to Japan +

    Sumire Gas The first marine export facility for propane in Canada has been officially opened. Read More
  • Changes in Tolls for Using Panama Canal +

    MSC Pohlin The Panama Canal plans to modify its tolls structure for all types of ships “to better serve the global maritime Read More
  • Largest LNG Carrier Sails From West to East +

    Al Safliya The largest LNG tanker to use the Panama Canal since it was expanded less that three years ago passed through Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Asia-Pacific

  • Line Adds Automated Power Kite to Propulsion +

    Airseas The Japanese shipping company Kawasaki Kisen KK (K Line) aims to cut ship greenhouse gas emissions with automated power kites. Read More
  • ONE Express to North Sea and Baltic +

    ONE Apus The Japanese shipping line Ocean Network Express (ONE) was due to start an enhanced North Sea Baltic Service with Russia Read More
  • MOL Links with Russian Uni for Crew Training +

    Makarov University The Japanese shipping company Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Russian university on co-operation Read More
  • “Prelude” Makes its Debut With First LNG Cargo +

    Prelude The first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has left Shell’s floating LNG facility Prelude some 475kms north-east of Broome Read More
  • Special Navigating System to be Fitted to VLCCs +

    AR Nav Following two-ship trials, augmented reality (AR) navigation systems are to be installed on 21 very large crude oil carriers (VLCCs) Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • Scorpene Sub Snags +

    INS Khanderi indian News The troubled Scorpene class submarine program hit another snag in June. Read More
  • US Navy’s Frigate Program Passes Significant Hurdle +

    USS Minneapolis-St Paul US News The US Navy has unveiled its plans for the purchase of a new frigate known as FFG(X). Read More
  • Fourth Dreadnought Named HMS “King George VI” +

    Dreadnought Class UK News The fourth member of the new Dreadnought class of nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines will bear the name Read More
  • US Navy Orders Flight II Landing Platform Dock +

    LDP30 American News The contract for the construction of LPD30, the first Flight II Landing Platform Dock of the San Antonio Read More
  • US Navy Seeks Faster Ship Delivery +

    FFGX Rendering American News The future frigate program for the US Navy is getting fully underway and some idea of the urgency Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • Fragile Future for Calmac +

    Isle of Arran TMore and more, I am reading reports that say the media, and the public too, are well aware of the Read More
  • Oscar Goes to Italy +

    Oscar Wilde Irish Continental Group has entered into a bareboat hire purchase agreement for the sale of its 1987-built Oscar Wilde to Read More
  • CalMac Heritage +

    Columba I include a fine poster and artist’s image of the famed Macbrayne paddler Columba. Read More
  • Russian Adventure +

    Ocean Adventurer To the North East Coast and arriving at Aberdeen for the first time for many months, I witnessed a passenger Read More
  • Windemere Jetties +

    Osprey and Branksome Last month I commented on the new setting of the classic collection of mainly steam boats held at Windermere. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • The Green Band of Marstal +

    Bessie Ellen The Danish Maritime Museum had the schooner Bonavista built on the island of Aero at Marstal and this year they Read More
  • Norweigan National Day +

    Thorodd I was in Montrose on the Norwegian National Day, 17 May, when its independent constitution from Sweden was confirmed in Read More
  • Port of Aberdeen Fifty Years On +

    Aberdeen Harbour Extension Project When I first arrived in Aberdeen in 1968, I couldn’t believe my luck. Read More
  • Thames Tributary Barges +

    Lady of the Lea Most of the rivers flowing into the Thames had their own barge type. Read More
  • Dry Rot and Dry Dock +

    HMS Victory For some time Victory, the 110gun ship of the line, has had trouble with dry rot and is in danger Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • President Opens ‘Largest UK Ship Simulation Centre’ +

    Sir Michael Bibby With the training of seafarers being so important to safety at sea, and in particular navigation equipment and bridge procedures, Read More
  • Hands-Free Mooring at St Lawrence Seaway +

    St Lawrence Seaway I feel there are probably many readers, like me, who feel a shiver down their spine when they think of Read More
  • Flying the Flag on Merchant Navy Day +

    Red Ensign For more than 35 years, it has been my immense privilege to be a local Isle of Man committee member Read More
  • Lifeline Cash for “Waverley” Agreed +

    Waverley The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS) has announced that it will provide immediate funding to support efforts to “Save The Read More
  • Viking Glory Celebrates Keel Laying +

    Front Altair The construction of Viking Glory is proceeding on schedule. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • Boudicca Pays Tribute to D-Day Veterans +

    Boudicca Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines were proud to have played its part in hosting 250 D-Day veterans. Read More
  • Captain of a Modern Passenger Carrying Sail Ship +

    Sea Cloud 2 If you have ever wondered what qualities a Captain of a cruise vessel might need to have listed on his Read More
  • Every Ash Cloud Has A Silver Lining +

    The ash cloud crisis continues to cause uncertainty as we see sporadic closures of airspace and cancelled flights, and this Read More
  • Damen Group Superyachts +

    Amels With 25 projects underway, business is booming for Amels, the Dutch luxury yacht builder. Read More
  • Singer Andrea Bocelli Trades Up in Size +

    Stella del Nord Andrea Bocelli, the blind Italian tenor and song writer whose work spans both popular music and classical opera is a Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places

Cuba

An Unexpected Job in Cuba

In 1948, I joined the MV Yamaska Park as an EDH and, over the first few days aboard, I became Read More
Suez Canal

The Creation of the Suez Canal - Part Two

IAt the end of 1858, the company’s Works Committee convened for the first time. It included an impressive assembly of Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features

Gudvangen

From Fjords to Fiji

On the morning of 9 October 2014, two patrol boats from the Spanish Maritime Service and Public Safety Unit were Read More
MV Laganbank

Bank Line's Building Boom

50 British built ships over a ten-year period from 1957 to 1967. Read More
  • 1
  • 2