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Sullom Voe

A long inlet of the sea (or voe) which almost divides the Shetland Mainland, Sullom Voe stretches southwards for 8 miles (13 km) from Yell Sound to Ell Wick and the village of Brae. Although perhaps best known today because of the Sullom Voe Oil Terminal, which opened in 1978, the voe has long provided shelter for shipping. Only a narrow strip of land, known as Mavis Grind, separates Sullom Voe from St. Magnus Bay to the west, leaving the district of Northmavine almost isolated to the northwest. Marine deposits in the peat here provides evidence of an ancient tsunami generated by an undersea avalanche off Norway 7000 years ago, which funnelled down Sullom Voe devastating the surrounding land.

There are four deep-water jetties located within Sullom Voe allowing the largest of tankers to dock and export crude oil and liquid petroleum gas around the world. The port is operated by Shetland Islands Council, while the terminal is operated by BP Exploration on behalf of a consortium of oil companies. There are further shallow-draft jetties located in Garths Voe.


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