FERRIES coming in and out of Portsmouth will be able to arrive and leave more efficiently, thanks to a £400,000 investment in new, cutting edge, technology.
The investment will modernise the way the ships are tied up and let go at the port, which is also welcoming increasing numbers of cruise ships to the city each year.
However, the 14 automatic quick-release mooring hooks are being installed on berths mainly used by cross-channel ferries, making the arrival and departure process faster and safer.
The new system being installed on berths three and four greatly reduces the need for port staff to handle heavy mooring ropes. It means staff have to spend less time on exposed areas of the dock, and the risk of back injuries from heavy lifting is also reduced.
The new hooks are a major investment in new infrastructure and are being supplied by Strainstall, a company on the Isle of Wight.
Similar technology from Australia was first installed at the Port in 2012.
Martin Putman, port manager of Portsmouth International Port, said: ‘The Strainstall system will really modernise our operations, an investment that helps to further protect the safety of our workforce.
‘I’m delighted the most competitive tender for the best system came from a company on the Isle of Wight. That means money stays in the local economy, helping to protect jobs.
‘It also guarantees us a high level of service, with maintenance and spare parts just a short ferry ride away.’
The 14 Strainstall quick-release machines should be operational by the end of March.
They are a mixture of single and double-hook machines, designed to withstand harsh marine environments.
Commonly used at oil and gas terminals to provide a quick release for tankers and carriers in the event of fire, the system is also useful in a port that has numerous vessels coming in and out at peak times.
The new investment is the latest in a series of developments at Portsmouth International Port.
In 2012, Berth 2 was extended to allow vessels as long as 240 metres to safely dock at Portsmouth, allowing larger cruise liners to bring passengers to the famous waterfront city.
Further flexibility came last year, with a wider turning circle for vessels created at the entrance to the port. To do that, the Royal Navy training ship HMS Bristol was moved to a new purpose-built pontoon, meaning larger ships now have easier access to all berths.