End of an era which spanned 600 years
Coal shipments from the Port of Sunderland was due to cease – bringing an end to a tradition spanning 600 years.
It also places a question mark over the future of 19 jobs.
The coal, mainly from Seaham and Vane Tempest collieries, will switch to a new merry-go-round train system to be installed at Seaham, which will carry the bulk of it to the Tyne Coal Terminal, with some possibly going through Blyth. The news is a body blow to the port and comes at a time when Wear tugboat men are facing a crisis on the river. Their numbers have been slashed by more than half and the work available is at an all-time low. Last year there were 27 tugboat men, Now there are only 11 and two of the four tugs gave been laid up.