£500,000 investment sees ABP launch the Humber’s latest survey vessel

Associations, Canals, Inland Waterways, Marine Equipment Products and Services, Ports & Terminals, Shipbuilding and Shipyards — By on November 21, 2016 at 4:56 PM
l-r ABP Senior Hydrographer, Mike Abbey; ABP Director Humber, Simon Bird; Fr Colum Kelly;  Mrs Lucia Bird, Harbour Master Humber, Andrew Firman and Coxswain, Peter Gillyon aboard the Humber Sounder in Hull’s All-Weather Terminal (image courtesy of ABP)

l-r ABP Senior Hydrographer, Mike Abbey; ABP Director Humber, Simon Bird; Fr Colum Kelly; Mrs Lucia Bird, Harbour Master Humber, Andrew Firman and Coxswain, Peter Gillyon aboard the Humber Sounder in Hull’s All-Weather Terminal (image courtesy of ABP)

ABP has celebrated the launch of its latest survey vessel Humber Sounder with a naming ceremony at the Port of Hull.

The ceremony, which was conducted by Father Colum Kelly of the Apostleship of the Sea, was attended by ABP staff and customers, as well as representatives of Blyth Workboats, which built the 14-metre catamaran. The Humber Sounder will be used to survey and manage the channels and waterways in and around the Humber Estuary.

The assembled guests also listened to a speech by Lucia Bird, wife of ABP Director Humber. Mrs Bird also named the vessel.

The Humber Sounder represents a £550,000 investment under ABP’s Vessel Replacement Programme, which was established to support its customers and other river users in operating safely, sustainably and efficiently.

Harbour Master for the Humber Andrew Firman said: “The Humber is one of the most challenging waterways in the world, with a catchment area of around 10,000 square miles, draining around 20 per cent of England’s water into the North Sea. It also has up to 10 million cubic metres of silt in suspension at any one time, which unfortunately has a habit of coming to rest in inconvenient places.

“The Estuary has some of the largest tidal ranges in the UK and the shallowest shipping lanes and this makes managing these lanes and channels a challenge for us all.

“This new vessel is manoeuvrable enough to negotiate the narrow confines of the Ouse or the Trent, while at the same time the twin hulls provide a stable platform for surveying in the more interesting conditions of the North Sea.”

The Humber Sounder is fitted with almost £250,000 of survey equipment which operates to centimetre accuracy and an ‘A’ crane on the deck which allows greater versatility of operations. The addition of a ‘moon pool’ system means expensive and very delicate cameras and survey equipment can be safely stowed when not in use.

The wheelhouse can carry 12 passengers and crew and includes a suite of technology from forward-looking sonar and deck cameras to assist with operations of the vessel in close quarters or shallow waters, to a bank of touch-screen monitors which can display information quickly and easily.


  • ABP is the UK’s leading ports operator with 21 ports and other transport related businesses creating a unique national network capable of handling a vast array of cargo.
  • ABP contributes £5.6 billion to the UK economy every year and supports 84,000 jobs. Our current investment programme promises to deliver an extra £1.75 billion for the economy every year.


  • Generates around one quarter of the UK’s rail freight
  • Has 1.4 million square metres of covered storage
  • Has 1000 hectares of open storage
  • Owns 5000 hectares of port estate
  • Has 87km of quay

Over the next five years, ABP is investing approximately £1 billion in a wide range of major projects across the group.

ABP Humber

The four ports of Grimsby, Immingham, Hull and Goole handle more than 61 million tonnes of cargo between them each year worth approximately £75 billion.

Grimsby and Immingham form the UK’s busiest trading gateway and move around 50 million tonnes of cargo per annum.

£130-plus million is currently being invested in the biomass handling terminal in Immingham, in a Humber-wide agreement with Drax Power Ltd that has seen £25 million invested in a biomass handling facility in Hull. The Immingham Renewable Fuels Terminal handles sustainable biomass shipments and will create over 100 permanent jobs once complete. The construction phase created 100 employment opportunities.

The Port of Hull handles 10 million tonnes of cargo per annum and is the is the focal point for the development of the UK’s largest offshore wind turbine manufacturing, construction, assembly, and service facility, which will be located on the Port’s Alexandra Dock. This new facility represents a £310 million investment and will create up to 1000 direct jobs.

The Grimsby River Terminal represents an investment of £26 million and allows large car-carrying ships to berth outside the Port’s lock system. This development confirms the Port’s position as the UK’s leading automotive handling facility.

More than the equivalent of 1million teus (twenty foot equivalent unit) of unitised trade is shipped through ABP Humber ports.

Goole is situated 50 miles upriver and is the UK’s premier inland port. It handles over one million tonnes of cargo annually.

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