As one of the first UK ports to handle major offshore industry decommissioning projects.
Lerwick's proximity to oil and gas activities in the northern North Sea and Atlantic, complemented by its deep-water capabilities, mean the harbour is ideally positioned to meet the needs of the industry in the recycling and disposal of large structures.
With two entrances, the sheltered, deep-water port is open to shipping in all weathers operating 24 hours a day, handling over 5,000 vessels per year. Lerwick's natural attractions as an extensive, all-weather harbour are enhanced with modern infrastructure, much of which servicing the oil and gas industry, including decommissioning projects to handle the latest construction/heavy lift and diving support vessels.
The port also handles piece small materials, decommissioned cargoes and subsea equipment. All quays are operated by the Authority and are common-user, giving flexibility for all types of marine support. A major dredging project at Lerwick's north harbour in 2008 deepened access channels to facilitate the larger specialist vessels now operating in the North Sea. Reclaimed materials were used to create land for new industrial sites and laydown areas to support and service future decommissioning projects.
The ability to accommodate the biggest heavy lift vessels and rigs within harbour limits is central to the Port's capacity and flexibility to handle oil-related projects large and small. Both the North and South harbour areas have water sheltered water depths of over 50 metres Chart Datum, providing optional locations for deballasting, mobilisation, lifts and support operations close to berths.