Port of Blyth joins Rio de Janeiro and Singapore as one of three sites to house oil spill response equipment

The Northumberland port has won a competitive tender to station equipment that will be used across the Northern Hemisphere

Port of Blyth Chef Executive Martin Lawlor
Port of Blyth Chef Executive Martin Lawlor

The Port of Blyth has been chosen as one of only three sites worldwide, including Rio de Janeiro and Singapore, to house specialist oil spill response equipment.

Port chief executive Martin Lawlor said he was delighted to have attracted international operators Oil Spill Response Limited in establishing a base for their specialist clean up equipment.

The Southampton-based firm will station heavy hose reels of over 250 tonnes along with other equipment at Blyth, ready for rapid response to oil spillages anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere.

Oil Spill Response work alongside most of the world’s top oil and gas firms, and Mr Lawlor was pleased the deal will put Blyth on the map with such operators.

Some construction work will now be carried out at the Port to accommodate heavy duty paving slabs, capable of holding the large reel structures, along with refurbishment of existing shed facilities to house other equipment.

In addition, works will also open up the quay for rapid access in emergency situations.

Trained harbour staff will help to mobilise the equipment within ten minutes of an emergency call - taken at Oil Spill Response’s Southampton facility.

Mr Lawlor was unable to reveal how much the deal was worth to the Port, but told The Journal: “One of the reasons Blyth was chosen is because of our health and safety provision and culture.

“The port is ideally suited to providing these facilities, and the fact that Oil Spill Response operate across the world will really help to raise our profile within the global oil and gas industry.”

He added: “We are pleased to conclude this agreement which I believe is testament to our reputation for providing a professional and responsive service to the offshore energy sector.”

The deal follows record breaking turnover at the Port - which reached £17.5m in 2012. In April Mr Lawlor anticipated the business’ 2013 year would be equally positive following news the Port would host a £5m fuel storage facility.

Marine fuels supplier Geos Group have established three storage tanks at the Bates Terminal, Blyth.

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