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Most of the material on this page has been adapted  from information, text and images by Captain  Michael Pryce who grew up in Heysham and following a mercantile career retired to New  Zealand.
Heysham Oil Jetty by M H & J M Pryce, pdf copy available  click here.. Originally published in World Ship Society's ournal "Marine News" in November 1981.


The harbour Oil  Jetty was opened in 1941 to provide a deep water tanker berth outside the  harbour, which large tanker ships would not have been able to access.It endeded outwards from the north wall for about 3000 feet. Oil was pumped on shore via a submerged pipeline to storage tanks on the east side of Moneyclose Lane, largely underground. Following the building of a land pipeline from Tranmere in the Wirral to    Middleton oil refinery this jetty was little used after 1967 and was finally demolished in 1976.

For anyone living in the vicinty of the highest point of Smithy Lane with a view over Half Moon Bay it would dominate the western skyline. Possibly the greatest impact would have been felt by residents of Heysham Tower(s), the  Officers training during WWIi and afterwards by the  Towers holiday campers.

To the right is an aerial view of the jetty which shows its position relative to the harbour quite precisely.
Construction of the tanker berth began in late 1939 but was delayed on account of the very cold winter; the Bay froze over for the first time in 80 years.The picture below shows two large bell dolphins connected by a deck; the jetty connecting this berth to the north harbour wall can be seen in the background.


A closer view of the south dolphin (right) shows men still working on it probably fitting fenders against whiich the tankers would rest. The dolphin is also clearly capable of rotation on its pile base, which presumably is necessary to allow slight movements of the ship since the berth is in open tidal water and not the relatively still water of a harbour..

The first tanker to berth alongside the jetty was the  LAURENT MEEUS on October 24th 1941
Below is a much later picture showing  Shell tanker HINNITES.. By this time to speed the discharge pipes had been laid along the jetty


Anyone fishing from a boat or sailing in the deeper waters of Heysham Village Bay and Half-moon Bay in the mid 1970s would have noticed two large  rusting  round topped steel cylinders in the swell and at least as big as their boat.. They were clearly anchored in place. These were the first parts  (piles) of the oiil jetty to be put in place and the last to go when it was dismantled.. They have now corroded and sunk and are on the sea bed, marked by yellow cardinal buoys.

Another aspect of the handling of oil cargoes at Heysham Harbour

Captain Pryce draws our attention to another feature of the oil trades at Heysham which was the pontoon berth inside Heysham Harbour, with the pontoon originally being part of the Mulberry Harbour used in the Normandy landings in 1944.  It was used to load mainly fuel oil or diesel into coastal tankers. Photo right shows the 1928-built tanker SAN CASTO loading, a few months before she was scrapped.



The website of the Historical Royal Fleet Auxiliary also mentions this large Mulberry pontoon and records that the first ship to load from it was the tanker RFA Hickorol in July 1948 . It further states that the Mulberry pontoon was connected to the Heysham Oil Jetty by two hinged arms carrying the pipelines. This provided another berth inside the harbour

Image reproduced from Historical RFA website