Another year has come and gone so it is time to review some of my highlights from the #dlr_blog area of coverage during 2015.
Once again the river Thames provided a wide range of interesting vessels alongside a number of events and incidents in the Gallions Point area.
A number of the vessels also feature in my free PC desktop wallpaper calendar pictures which can be found here.
An early visitor was the Western Boheme heading to Silvertown’s Thames Refinery wharf bringing another cargo for the Tate & Lyle factory.
She was assisted to her berth by the tug Svitzer Eston, a newly delivered tug in the Svitzer fleet that spent some time working the Thames before heading to her permanent base.
This month also saw the PS Tattershall Castle being towed to Hull for refurbishment works.
One of the Thames Clipper river buses made a rare trip up to the ExCel centre helping transport delegates to one of the shows taking place there.
Some drama was provided courtesy of a City Airport vehicle falling in the dock – thankfully the driver was okay.
The Metropolitan Police’s Marine Support Unit not only look after the security of the river but also have a rescue role and this month saw them practicing the use the their mud rescue mats out on the river – skills they would put to use later in the year.
The royal docks is often used for various PR activities and filming and this time it was the turn of Jaguar to launch their 2016 model of the XF by driving it across the dock on two wires!!
After a quiet few months for military visitors that all changed when two Royal Navy and one Spanish Navy warship visited London.
St Katherines Dock hosted a number of extra boats as part of the London Yacht, Jet & Prestige Car Show taking place in the City – first running of what is expected to be an annual event.
This month saw a huge variety of visitors and several special events – more details here.
There was also the maiden call of the brand new Viking Star cruise ship that hadn’t been officially christened at the time of her visit.
The main event in the royal docks was the gathering of Dunkirk Little ships when 19 of the vessels made a brief visit whilst enroute to the Dynamo 75 commutations at Ramsgate.
Arriving on the river this month was very unique vessel in the shape of the steam ship George Stephenson – having been built over the last few years she was in London to be christened and what makes her special and unique is that she is made from salvaged and recycled materials taken from other boats.
The dangers of the river were also highlighted when a full scale rescue operation was launched to recover some children that had become stuck in the mud.
Adding to the growing list of naval visitors the Royal Navy sent HMS St Albans to stay in West India Dock for a few days where she was open to visitors before heading off to her next tasking.
The Australian Sail Training Ship Young Endeavour also paid a brief visit to London as part of her round-the-world training voyage.
This was the month of the tall ships – not only was it the annual Sail Greenwich event but there were a number of other visiting sailing ships that had been to the tall ships festival in Amsterdam.
The end of the month also saw the sculptures that would form the Totally Thames festival art installation were delivered by boat up river to their display site.
The main event for September was the biennial defence show that takes place at ExCel and attracts a number of visiting warships to the royal docks. A full report can be seen here.
Also a military theme but a very different challenge saw members of the Dutch Royal Marines celebrate their 350th anniversary by rowing 350 km from Holland to London across the North Sea.
Early October again saw ExCel the centre of attention and rather than boats this time it was helicopters attending the biennial Helitech exhibition.
The second half of the month saw the arrival of the two new Thames Clipper boats on the back of a cargo ship.
What turned out to be the final port call of the year from a naval vessel comprised of 6 ships that were assigned to NATO’s SNMCMG1.
The end of the month also saw the sailing ship Phoenix make brief trip up to Tower Bridge as part of a promo event for the new Moby Dick film “In the Heart of the Sea”.
The start of the month saw one of the London based tourist boats pay a visit to the KGV lock for some MCA safety checks – a fairly rare event but still interesting to see.
Shortly before the holidays the first arrivals for the annual boat show came in via the Thames and through the KGV lock on their way up to Excel in preparation for the show in January.
That concludes the review of 2015 – I wonder what 2016 will bring…?
A few statistics for the year:
|Bulk cargo ships visiting Thames Refinery||35|
|Warships in London||36|
|Cruise ship visitors (some visited more than once)||8|