A RETIRED harbour engineer at Harwich Haven Authority has been recognised for his work almost 40 years after first joining the port authority.

Chartered civil engineer John Brien joined the organisation in 1986.

He has been recognised by the Central Dredging Association (CEDA) for his outstanding contribution to the dredging sector at their annual meeting held in November.

In his role, John oversaw all activities related to the conservancy of Harwich Harbour and the navigation approach channel, which included both capital and maintenance dredging works.

Before retiring last summer, John led a major, nationally significant £130 million capital dredging project with joint-venture contractors Boskalis Westminster and Van Oord to deepen the approach channel and inner Harbour to a depth of -16 metres below Chart Datum.

John said: “I have very much enjoyed my time at Harwich Haven Authority, working on a fascinating range of projects against the backdrop of the beautiful surroundings,” says John.

“I knew nothing about dredging when I joined in 1986, but with the then Harbour Engineer, Richard Allen’s support, I was soon into the slightly esoteric world of dredge pumps, hopper dredgers, backhoes and water injection.

“You can tell that it’s probably time to retire when some of the major bits of infrastructure you were responsible for are now being refurbished, rebuilt or changed entirely

“I'm also delighted to see the Authority is increasing its engagement with other organisations on environmental and sustainability issues and look forward to seeing what emerges.”

A CEDA spokesperson commented: “John has been a keen and vocal advocate for the dredging sector, including serving on the CEDA UK committee for over 10 years.

“Notably, Harwich Haven Authority’s previous capital dredging project in 1998/2000, which was led by John, was one of the first major projects in the UK to be tested under the Habitats Regulations."

Sarah West, chief executive at Harwich Haven Authority, said: “We are all very sad to see John go but everyone at the Authority wishes him a long and happy retirement.

“John’s last project was to oversee the completion of our large scale and critically important £130 million works to deepen the approach channel into the Harwich Harbour.

“The increased depth provides greater accessibility for the latest breed of mega vessels in operation, which will establish Haven Ports as a preferred destination for the major shipping lines.

“With more than 40 per cent of all UK containerised goods arriving each year through the Haven, the privately funded investment made by Harwich Haven Authority to futureproof operations supports current and future employment opportunities and provides Haven Ports with a competitive advantage over major UK and European ports.”