Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bulk Carrier Breaks Port Record

Vessel Squeezes into Lock by a Hand's-breadth
Shipping News Feature

UK – The Port of Leith saw the arrival last week of its largest ever visitor, the bulk carrier Merchant with her cargo of 42,000 tonnes of Peruvian salt destined to help cope with the Scotland’s roads in the sub zero temperatures that have prevailed this Winter.

With a length overall of 201metres and a beam of 31metrs that left just 60 centimetres for the vessels master to play with as he manoeuvred her through the lock and the ships arrival required careful planning to ensure her safe entry into the Port. The operation saw ship-to-ship cargo transfer of around 11,000 tonnes of salt in the River Forth at Burntisland to allow sufficient draft clearance for the Merchant to enter Leith.

Leith has been a popular discharge port for salt this year but the Merchant carried sufficient to fill some 1,700 truck loads and a clearly satisfied Kenny Williamson, Operations Manager for Forth Ports plc who operate Leith, commented after the successful berthing:

“The Merchant’s smooth operation is testament to the expertise and flexibility of the people at the Port of Leith. She is the largest bulk carrier we have ever handled and although it required careful planning, the Merchant arrived and departed on schedule despatching her massive cargo for ongoing circulation around Scotland and contributing to the mammoth effort that has been made this winter to keep Scotland moving in the worst winter weather in decades.”