AT PRECISELY 10am on Monday, Siem Amethyst, an anchor handling tug supply ship, was the first vessel to berth at the newly-built quay at Montrose Harbour.
And when the Review visited the vessel half-an-hour later, preparations were being made to unload the ship’s cargo of anchors and chains from the Gryphen Field.
There had been an incident at Gryphen which meant that all chains and anchors required to be checked on shore. The anchors weigh up to 30 tonnes each.
The Port Authority’s investment in the new quay, and the adjacent extensive cargo-handling area, means that this work can now be done at Montrose, in this case by Danbor.
The captain of the Siem Amethyst, Sven Wefring, told the Review that he was carrying two anchors, plus chains, and that there are another 10 anchors to come.
He said that his ship is not owned by the contractor, Maersk, but simply hired to do the job and there is no guarantee that he and his crew will be back with the rest of the anchors and chains.
Harbourmaster Brian Forrest explained that the items will be examined meticulously, and replacements will be made where necessary.
This may leave a large quantity of scrap metal, but so buoyant is that market just now that it could go anywhere in Europe.
While the Review was on board Mr Forrest complimented Captain Wefring on his skill in docking the Siem Amethyst which, we learned, is only four months old.
For readers who have never been aboard such a vessel it is the sheer scale of everything which takes the breath away, from the winding gear for the massive wire ropes used for towing, to the huge floor area and comfort of the bridge, which is brim-full of the latest high-tech navigational aids.
Mr Forrest was full of enthusiasm for the new quay, which has also attracted Maersk to the area.
He pointed to Siem Amethyst, hardly a tiddler at 91 metres, and said: “With 200 metres of usable quay, we will be able to attract vessels twice her length.”
Also on the quay were stacks of tree trunks, which are destined for Scandinavia.
With the increase in capacity and the greater number of ships calling at the port, employment is bound to rise, particularly with tenants and sub-contractors.