A group of 13 CILT members and guests enjoyed a visit to Aberdeen's Marine Operations Centre (MOC). The relatively new building which enjoys wonderful views along the sea-front received an architectural award from the Aberdeen Civic Society and it is easy to see why. The building is stylishly built and is reminiscent of both a lighthouse and a ship's interior.
The group was welcomed in the boardroom by Captain Shaw who gave a thorough presentation on the workings of the harbour, followed by an interesting question and answer session. We were then taken upstairs into the control room manned by two members of staff who monitor and control all traffic coming into and out of the harbour plus movements within the harbour itself, aided by a raft of technology. The control room is situated above the mouth of the harbour and has an excellent view of passing vessels which are also monitored by a network of CCTV cameras situated throughout the harbour. We spend some time talking to the control room staff and enjoyed the excellent vantage point (despite the incoming haar).
Next we were treated to a visit to the MOC's simulator which is used for training purposes. Standing on the deck of a lifeboat, Captain Shaw took the controls and manoeuvred our vessel alongside and under a North Sea oil rig, avoiding a nearby blazing oil spill. One of the CILT members was less skilled at the controls, causing an unnerving collision between our boat and the rig. The simulator's scenario of Aberdeen's sea-front includes a proposed offshore wind-farm and the Northlink ferry to the Northern Isles.
Despite Captain Shaw's interesting presentation and our enlightening visit to the control room, the simulator proved to be the highlight of the visit - on a par with last year's visit to Aberdeen Airport when we were driven along the runway on a bus!
Report by Marion Mackay.
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