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Marking 40 Years of the Port Authority 09/09/2013
 A free afternoon of fun and entertainment was arranged for Invergordon on Saturday 7th September, to help the community celebrate a significant anniversary in the life of an important local enterprise.

Cromarty Firth Port Authority will mark 40 years since it was established in Easter Ross by saying a big “thank you” to local people and visitors by hosting a performance from the famous Royal Marine Band.

Famed throughout the world for their musicianship, the bandsmen and women combine military precision and discipline with talent, which places them at the top level of musical ensembles.  

The performance will begin at midday in the West Harbour of the port on Shore Road.

As well as marking the 40th anniversary of the Port, the performance will deliver a ceremonial start to the 2013 RNLI raft race. 
And later in the day, music will also provide an important aspect of the celebrations when, at 7.30pm, there will be a mass pipe band display in Invergordon High Street.  The Tain, Sutherland Caledonian and Sutherland Schools pipe bands will be joined by Highland dancers. 
The entire celebration Saturday also marks the ending of another successful cruise season for Invergordon.

A spokesperson for CFPA said: “We hope that the presence of the marine band will leave memories with us all, marking not just the 40 years since the Port Authority was created, but paving the way forward for the next 40 years.

“This will also give the Invergordon Lifeboat a memorable start to the annual raft race and will hopefully be an unforgettable experience for the community in which the port lives.”

The Cromarty Firth was previously a military port in the first and second world wars, the sheltered waters of the Firth provided a safe anchorage for battleships, heavy cruisers and aircraft carriers of the home fleet. It was at this time that Invergordon established itself as a primary engineering facility. The deep water close to the shore allowed two large floating dry docks to be operated and skilled tradesmen moved into the area to establish a naval dock yard.

The Cromarty Firth Port Authority was established by Act of Parliament in 1973. The naval presence did not leave the Firth until the early 1980’s. With the establishment of the Port Authority came the opportunity for the Firth to take advantage of the recently discovered North Sea oil. This was a time of great change in the Firth with the development of the Nigg fabrication yard, Nigg oil terminal, the British Alcan smelting plant, a pipe coating works, the Invergordon Service Base and the pipe spooling facility at Highland Deephaven.

Today’s activities in the Firth are focused around oil and gas with large rigs moored in the Firth and undertaking repair works at the modern facilities situated at the Invergordon Service Base. Bulk cargo ships can be seen loading and unloading bulk commodities at Saltburn Pier. Large oil tankers loading crude oil from the Beatrice, Athena and Jacky fields and ship to ship transfers can be seen at the Nigg oil terminal. Modern sophisticated subsea ships can be seen working at the Invergordon Service Base and Highland Deephaven pipe spooling facility. In the summer months over 94,000 cruise passengers visit the Firth and enjoy the spectacular views of the Highlands.

The Cromarty Firth Port Authority is operated as a Trust port under its own act of parliament. It is the custodian of the firth, being responsible for safe navigation, the environment and developing its berths and facilities at Invergordon and Saltburn for the benefit of all its stakeholders.
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