The first sections of steelwork for the new whitefish landing hub were erected towards the end of last month, as the extensive building, which this time next year will house a state-of-the-art 9,500-box fishmarket, quickly takes shape.

Above: Loading a hopper barge with granite from the floor of the navigation channel, before it is moved through the South Harbour for land-reclamation purposes adjacent to the Smith Embankment Quay.

Preparation work for the widening of the Canal Junction is also advancing well after the iconic ‘Queenie Brig’ was lifted out earlier this year. Circular steel reinforcing piles are currently being inserted into the knuckle quay nearly 6m from its edge. On completion of this work, the outer section of quay and roadway will be removed, thereby widening the existing channel into the North Harbour from 10.8m to 16.5m. In addition to enabling all classes of whitefish vessel to access the new fishmarket, this increase will also allow Peterhead Port Authority to gain maximum use from the shiplift facility, which is capable of taking vessels up to 15.5m wide.

The Queenie Bridge structure is currently being refurbished, and the road deck lengthened, with a view to the bridge being reinstated towards the end of the contract in April 2018.

Work is also in progress to widen the entrance leading towards the North Harbour from the south basin by removing a section from the corner of the east quay opposite the control tower.

Reinforcement of the extensive quays in the North Harbour to facilitate deepening of the basin floors is also well on schedule, with work on the quays – behind which the new fishmarket is now being constructed – already completed.

This work involves using an innovative ‘RD Piling’ system to insert some 800 circular steel reinforcing piles (16.5m long x 700mm diameter) that, on being lowered into position, are faced along their entire length above low water level with a continuous concrete capping.

The arrival of the large capacity 60m German jack up dredger MP 40 last month stimulated immediate interest from the general public, as dredging operations commenced to deepen the main navigation channel and the North Harbour from -3.2m to -6.5m chart datum. Working 24/7 in conjunction with three hopper barges, the dredger is currently working in the channel.

When piling work is finished on the knuckle pier at the Canal Junction, the outer section will be removed, enabling the dredging team to begin operations in the North Harbour. It is estimated that some 125,000m3 of rock will be excavated from the bottom of the harbour, all of which will be used for land reclamation in the vicinity of the Smiths Embankment quay in Peterhead Bay.

Construction work on the biggest development undertaken by Peterhead Port Authority, which is scheduled for completion in the spring of next year, is being carried out in a joint venture partnership between civil engineering contractor McLaughlin & Harvey, and dredging contractor Boskalis Westminster, in conjunction with project management and engineers, RPS.

Although Peterhead is a hive of construction activity at present, it is very much a case of normal service in terms of fish landings and vessel refit/service provision, due to effective forward-planning by port staff and the understanding and full co-operation of skippers.

In the same week as dredging started and hopper barges were regularly transiting through the South Harbour, over 30,000 boxes of whitefish were landed into Peterhead market in one of the busiest weeks of the year. Pelagic landings on the East and Sir Albert Quays have also resumed after a short seasonal lull, with two Danish vessels landing sandeels, while the new local pelagic vessel Pathway pumped ashore her maiden shot of maatjes herring last week.

Pontoon berthing for inshore boats in the Port Hendry basin was also extended recently to meet growing demand.

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