Project meeting in Scotland - APP4SEA in the thick of action!

On the last week of May, 2019, APP4SEA partners landed at the Wick Airport in Caithness, in the northernmost parts of mainland UK. Environmental Research Institute was hosting a partner meeting on their soil for the second time, but unlike 18 months earlier, the partners had now plenty of daylight to digest the sights of Northern Scotland.

APP4SEA partners at the Orkney Harbour Authority's Vessel Traffic Services (VTS). Shipping in the islands, which includes ferries, fishing boats and a lot oil related traffic (tankers, tugs, pilots) is being monitored 24/7 from this center.

Orkney Harbour authority showed some of the OSR equipment that is stored in their facilities. Here a RO-Clean disc skimmer is being examined by the APP4SEA partners.

Ievoli Black, which is an emergency towing vessel chartered by UK's Maritime and Coast Guard Agency, was spotted by the Hatston pier in Kirkwall. The vessel is also capable of OSR actions and operates mainly in the waters around Northern Scotland and the Islands.

As the project had entered its third and final year, the agenda of the meeting was filled with issues related to the smart map and finishing of the remaining deliverables. The partners gathered on Tuesday at ERI and some who had not made it to Thurso, joined the meeting virtually. A lot of progress was recorded, plans were made for coming months and deadlines were set for remaining tasks. The meeting was closed only way past the office hours, but the day was not over yet. The partners headed to port of Scrabster for a ferry ride to Stromness and to the Orkney Islands. The partners got to feel by themselves the choppy seas between the UK mainland and Orkneys, where North Atlantic and North Sea meet in a narrow channel. It is not a surprise then that this is one of most promising areas for wave energy production in the whole of UK. Luckily, all the partners could walk off the boat after arrival to Stromness.

In the following morning the choppy seas was just a faint memory, as the partners headed to Kirkwall, capital of the Orkneys. Orkney Harbour Authority Scapa Flow, who is in charge for the harbours and oil spill prevention & response in the islands, was the destination for the partners. Scapa flow is a significant staging area for oil transfers between ships and the large Flotta oil depot is situated in the area. The partners wanted to meet the ”boots on the ground”, the authorities in charge of oil spill response in this region. Meeting had been organized with the islanders, who were introduced to the project, the tasks and above all the smart map. The partners learned also about the challenges that the Harbour Authority faces (there had been a minor oil leakage to Scapa Flow just on the previous week) and how the project could help them to improve their OSR capabilities. This was also the first time that the map had been presented to local OSR authorities, so the partners were eager to get feedback regarding it from the field. The guest were also able to peek into the OSR equipment storages of the Harbour Authority and see what kind of tools the authority has on their disposal. After a mutually satisfying meeting the parties departed and APP4SEA partners continued the partner meeting and exploration of the Orkneys.