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Aberdeen Harbour

Aberdeen Harbour is one of the UKs busiest ports; starting out as a fishing port, moving onto steam trawlers and serving the oil industry. It is the main commercial port in the North of Scotland and the principal port for the energy sector in Western Europe. It also lays claim to be one of Britain's oldest businesses Archive LinkExternal link Aberdeen Official guide (2006).

The sheltered estuary of the River Dee is a natural harbour and its first use is lost in the mists of time. There is evidence of human habitation around 5,000 BC. However, the first recorded reference to the town as a port was in AD 1136 when King David 1st of Scotland granted the Bishops of Aberdeen the right to levy a tithe on all ships trading at the port. Since then, the harbour has had an increasingly important role in the development and prosperity of North-east Scotland.

Following the Union of Parliaments with England in 1707, trade increased to record levels. With further expansion limited by the harbour bar, the first section of the North Pier was built. Completed in 1780, this increased the depth of water and provided shelter at the entrance. Thomas Telford later extended the section and proposed building a southern breakwater. During World War II, the harbour was an important naval base; air attacks caused considerable damage and the requirements of the war effort affected trade and development. Following the war, deep-water berths were constructed at Atlantic and Pacific Wharfs.

The arrival of the offshore oil and gas industry in the mid-1960s resulted in a programme which was to virtually rebuild the harbour in the following decades. During the 1960s, Pacific Wharf was further developed to provide additional deep-water berthing; the navigation channel was deepened; craneage was modernised and increased; and the floating dock was replaced. The rebuilding included Waterloo, Regent, Trinity and Upper Quays. Victoria Dock was dredged and the port opened up to 24-hour operations. A new roll-on roll-off terminal was built by the Harbour Board. A second terminal for international ferries was later established and a floating linkspan introduced. By 1984, nine oil bases had been developed at the port, some to serve particular operators, others being multi-user.

Aberdeen had been a major maritime centre throughout the 19th century; fishing was the predominant industry. The development of steam trawlers in the 1880s meant a significant increase of activity and the twentieth century saw a move to deep-sea fisheries, which derived a great impetus from improved technologies. By 1933 Aberdeen was Scotland's top fishing port, employing nearly 3000 men with 300 vessels sailing from its harbour. Catches have since fallen because of overfishing and the use of the harbour by oil support vessels and so, although still an important fishing port, it is now eclipsed by the more northerly ports of Peterhead and Fraserburgh.

Today, Aberdeen Harbour handles around 4 million tonnes of cargo annually. It is also important as it serves the ferry route to Orkney and Shetland. Major exports include fertiliser, granite, and chemicals (Archive LinkExternal link Aberdeen Harbour A History of Service)
by David Dixon

Created: Mon, 1 Oct 2018, Updated: Mon, 1 Oct 2018


85 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

NJ9505 : Havla Borg by N Chadwick
NJ9505 : Aberdeen Harbour Entrance by David Dixon
NJ9606 : End of South Breakwater by N Chadwick
NJ9406 : Aurora Storm by N Chadwick
NJ9505 : Light Tower, Footdee by N Chadwick
NJ9505 : Sea Cargo Express at Aberdeen Harbour by David Dixon
NJ9506 : Waterloo Quay at Aberdeen Harbour by Mat Fascione
NJ9405 : Blaikies Quay by N Chadwick
NJ9505 : Pocra Quay at Aberdeen Harbour by Mat Fascione
NJ9406 : Aurora Storm by N Chadwick
NJ9505 : Pilot House, Footdee by N Chadwick
NJ9605 : North Pier by N Chadwick
NJ9405 : Normand Triumph by N Chadwick
NJ9406 : Supply ships in Albert Basin, Aberdeen by Stephen Craven
NJ9405 : Norside Cygnus by N Chadwick
NJ9505 : Oil storage tanks by N Chadwick
NJ9505 : Aberdeen Harbour, Pocra Quay by David Dixon
NJ9505 : Aberdeen Harbour, Tugboats at Pocra Quay by David Dixon
NJ9505 : Pocra Quay at Footdee, Aberdeen by Mat Fascione
NJ9505 : Scarty's Monument and Round House, Aberdeen Harbour by Malc McDonald
NJ9505 : North Pier by N Chadwick
NJ9606 : Aberdeen Harbour, South Breakwater Lighthouse by David Dixon
NJ9605 : Jetty by N Chadwick
NJ9605 : Southern end of South Breakwater by N Chadwick
NJ9705 : Girdle Ness Lighthouse by David Dixon

... and 60 more images.

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