April 20 - Aberdeen Harbour Board has started on the first phase of its GBP30 million (USD46 million) Torry Quay redevelopment.

The initial stage of the three phase project, which will take 18 months to complete, will include the demolition of the existing upstream berths, replacing them with 300 m of realigned, deep water quays. It will be constructed from a combination of steel sheet and bearing piles, bored piles, tie-rod and anchor systems, and reinforced concrete support slabs and surfacing. 

The development will provide stronger quays for heavy lifts and create more room in the River Dee for vessels to navigate. Future uses of the new facility could include a support base for oil and gas customers and the handling of equipment for offshore renewable energy installations. 

With modern, deep draughted ships and heavy cargoes entering the port more regularly, the new quays will be more suitable for these vessels, such as Subsea 7's new 145 m long and 26 m wide diving support vessel, Seven Atlantic which recently made its first official visit to Aberdeen Harbour. 

On completion, the overall project, which is part of Aberdeen Harbour Board's GBP65 million (USD100 million) development strategy, will result in over 500 m of new deep water berths and more than seven hectares of back up land on the south side of the River Dee. 

Ken Reilly, engineering director of Aberdeen Harbour, said: "The port is an integral part of the North-east's infrastructure and the improvements will provide modern facilities and enhanced configuration to better suit the larger vessels using the port. 

"As one of the busiest ports in the UK, it is essential we continue to further develop the harbour to support the requirements of the diverse range of existing and potential port users." 

Aberdeen Harbour is one of the UK's busiest ports and the centre of activity for the energy industry's marine operations in North-west Europe.