A day within the lifetime of…A Harbour Grasp: ‘A part of you longs to be on one of many cruise liners’


“You do typically watch these ships as they sail off into the gap, heading for the Mediterranean or the Caribbean and marvel, ‘why am I not on that?’”

Ashley Nicholson, 33, is senior harbour grasp at Forth Ports and the youngest ever vp of the UK Harbour Masters Affiliation

The largest cruise liners arriving at Forth Ports boast passenger numbers of around 4,000

The most important cruise liners arriving at Forth Ports boast passenger numbers of round four,000


“I began out engaged on cruise ships, primarily going round Europe and if you find yourself standing at Leith on a chilly winter day, with the mist and the rain beginning to roll in, I really like my job now, however I do miss it a little bit bit.


“The best technique to clarify the position of the Harbour Grasp is that we take duty for ensuring the entire ships on the Forth keep protected whereas they’re in our waters, nonetheless the attain of the job as so much wider than that.


“There may be as a lot give attention to passenger expertise, ensuring everybody embarking or disembarking at any of our ports can accomplish that safely and positively. That’s the whole lot from passenger site visitors to industrial vessels, which we do are likely to work extra intently with.

‘We’ve got to get folks on and off ships as rapidly and effectively as attainable’

As well as Leith, Ashley also manages marine traffic at other ports on the Forth including Grangemouth and Rosyth

In addition to Leith, Ashley additionally manages marine site visitors at different ports on the Forth together with Grangemouth and Rosyth


“Like an airport, there’s this large operation and we’ve got a large workforce to verify the whole lot runs easily, however with the quantity of passengers that we take care of every day, it’s tough to make sure the whole lot runs like clockwork.


“Alongside the Forth, we’ve got ports at Leith, Grangemouth, Rosyth and in Fife, in addition to Tilbury down South, so I cut up lots of my time between them.


“They every have their very own challenges in catering for several types of vessel, however we’re very fortunate in that every workforce is aware of their roles and how you can go about them most effectively, we will get folks on and off ships, cargo unloaded and reloaded in the best approach.


“I began out at Forth Ports throughout a piece placement right here, after spending time on quite a few cruise ships.


“I used to be doing lots of rotations, a number of months on, a number of months off, I wished one thing extra everlasting. I studied Nautical Science at Strathclyde after which a job got here up right here as a VTS officer – successfully the equal of an air site visitors controller for the river.


“That was 11 years in the past and there was actually quick development for me since then. There was an inherent downturn within the variety of folks working within the delivery business over the previous few years, however I used to be at all times prepared to maneuver on, to maneuver up, so to have the chance to grow to be senior harbour grasp in 2017 was one thing that I may by no means flip down.

‘There was an enormous swell within the variety of cruise passengers over the previous few years’

“The most important cruise liners we’ve got bringing in round four,000 passengers every, they’re coming in from in all places, nonetheless what regularly occurs is that we’ve got a day the place there’s a ship in every of the ports on the Forth.


“On these days, we’re confronted with the duty of shifting between 10,000 and 12,000 passengers, freight, cargo, the whole lot all on the identical time.


“As a result of Edinburgh is the capital metropolis, it’s only pure that it’s the place for everybody to move and due to that, the entire ports on the Forth are counted as Edinburgh.


“We’ve got seen a giant swell within the variety of passengers arriving into Forth Ports, notably in Leith, purely because of the entry to the town.


“That’s true the world over, there’s a 12 months on 12 months enhance of cruising passengers.


“Your entire position is totally diversified, it seems like a little bit of a cliche to say it, however no two days on this job are ever actually the identical. One thing new is occurring day-after-day and though I’m within the port business, you get this large variation in the whole lot you might be doing.


“There are such a lot of completely different branches, you see the entire delivery business from the industrial, cargo and passenger facet of it.


“There may be the longing to be on a cruise ship heading someplace sunny, however to see that unfold, the expertise these persons are having, it’s a superb feeling to carry that to them.”