Photos: New-look outer harbour as �10m work to extend arms is completed

This is the new-look outer harbour, after �10m was spent narrowing the entrance to reduce swell.

Work aimed to make the port more suitable for large vessels serving the offshore industry, which had difficulty operating in choppy conditions.

And the results are seen in this photo taken by Mike Page.

Wave energy will be reduced now the 200m entrance has been reduced to 150m, and bosses say they are delighted.

Jamie Frater, chief executive of EastPort UK, wrote: 'We are pleased to advise that the civil engineering improvement works at the outer harbour were complete at the end of October 2012, a few weeks ahead of schedule. The civil works undertaken involved the placement of two large caissons and rock revetment between the existing breakwater and the new caissons reducing the outer harbour entrance.'

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Light towers are also to be erected to offshore vessels to safely lift equipment - some weighing more than 200 tonnes.

Developments at the �40m outer harbour are taking it further in the direction of an offshore hub.

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It was originally designed as a container port, but a change of plan saw the �30m container cranes removed in 2010.

Plans for a ferry link-up with Holland have also been put on ice for the forseeable future, as bosses say demand is not high enough.

But business is picking up - with commercially confidential negotiations going on behind the scenes - and large vessels already using the port.

This month the giant turbine installation vessel Brave Tern was sighted in the outer harbour.

Stuart Thornton, UK manager of Fred Olsen United Limited, said the vessel was in the outer harbour for preparation work ahead of a voyage to the North Sea.

It is to set up meteorological masts while there. And in a boost to the East Anglian economy, the Norwegian firm is in the process of setting up a commercial base in the region.

But while the port is gearing up towards offshore, an inquiry is set to probe how public money was used to privatise the port in 2007.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) will preside over the scrutiny exercise, and campaigners say they are hopeful they will finally get some answers.

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