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2017 #dlr_blog year in review

2017 turned out to be a busy and varied year with many more cruise ship visitors and well as a significant number of warships – helped in part by the biennial DSEi defence show in the Royal Docks and a goodwill visit by a Chinese navy flotilla.

There were also a significant number of sailing ships seen during the year, largely thanks to the Rendezvous 2017 event taking place in Greenwich but a number of other first-time visitors also came to London.

The Royal Docks was quite busy this year with a large proportion being associated with Tideway Tunnel enabling works that were based in the KGV Lock.

So, on with the review.


Whilst January is typically a quieter month for visitors the river is still busy with various tugs, passenger boats and dredgers but the number of marine engineering projects that are taking place in London along the Thames at the moment means that there has been a steady stream of special equipment including jack-up and crane barges.

One such event saw S. Walsh & Sons Ltd tug SWS Breda along with Palmers Marine Services LTD tug Horton towing Red 7 Marine jack-up platform Haven Seaseven up river.

SWS Breda + Horton + Haven Seaseven (1) @ Gallions Reach 12-01-17

A more interesting and unusual visitor later in the month was former Gosport Ferry  Gosport Queen which arrived on the Thames for conversion to a party boat to be named MV Pearl of London operated by London Party Boats Ltd.

Gosport Queen (6) @ Gallions Reach 21-01-17


The month started off with another new addition, this time another multi-cat for the CPBS Marine engineering fleet in the shape of Hound Dog – seen arriving on the Thames prior to painting in house colours.

Hound Dog (7) @ Gallions Reach 01-02-17

The year’s first bulk carrier cargo ship to visit the Thames Refinery berth at Silvertown was the Oslo Venture I and this picture shows her departing down the Thames after unloading her cargo of raw cane sugar.

Oslo Venture 1 (1) @ Gallions Reach 02-02-17

The month also saw the first of the year’s naval visitors in the shape of German Navy signals intelligence ship FGS Oker A53 – a photo report can be seen here.


The first half of March saw luxury yacht Justa Delia arrive on the Thames and she then spent the rest of the year based in West India Dock at Canary Wharf from where she made numerous trips down river over the following months.

Justa Delia (2) @ Gallions Reach 10-03-17

March also saw the first visit of vessels from Thamescraft Drydocking in the Royal Docks this year with Multicat Devour and Workboat Device working with equipment barges in the dock.

Device + Devour (6) @ KGV Dock 13-03-17

The month also saw the extremely rare sight of a working cargo vessel in the Royal Docks – in this case it was the bulk carrier Haringvliet which arrived with a cargo of steel pipes that were then unloaded in the KGV Lock where BAM Nuttall had set-up a base of operations in support of the Thames Tideway tunnel project which would see significant numbers of vessel movements in the Lock over the following months.

Haringvliet (8) @ KGV Lock 29-03-17


The main event for April, and one of the key events of the year, was the sight of 26 sailing vessels from 8 countries that came to the Thames as part of the combined Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta and the Sail Royal Greenwich event. The former was the launch of the trans-Atlantic trip of a number of sailing ships to Canada to help mark the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada – a full report can be seen here and more pictures here.

Tall Ship (14) @ River Thames 13-04-17

The same Easter weekend also saw the arrival of 3 ships of the NATO Standing Naval Mine Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) that spent the weekend in West India Dock.

HNOMS Hinnoey M343 @ Gallions Reach 14-04-17


At the beginning of the month the recently delivered CPBS Marine boat Hound Dog paid its first visit to the Royal Docks and was fully painted in their livery.

Hound Dog (6) @ KGV Lock 05-05-17

The month also saw the Indian Navy send one of their Frigates, the INS Tarkash, to spend a few days in West India Dock as part of a cultural and naval exchange visit to the UK.

Whilst not the first such visit of an Indian vessel to London it was still a rare and interesting event. A full report can be seen here.

Devout (1) @ River Thames 07-05-17

Notable among the other visitors was Damen Shipyard’s superyacht support tender ‘Game Changer’ which spent a few days in London on a promotional tour.

Game Changer (5) @ Gallions Reach 14-05-17


During June the Royal Docks saw a bit more activity with the Offshore Wind Energy show taking place at ExCel exhibition centre and two Offshore Support Vessels were in attendance. More pictures can be seen here.

Atlantic Enterprise + Siem Moxie (4) @ Gallions Reach 05-06-17

The other event in the Docks was a round of the European Jetski Freestyle championships which saw a number of riders competing – sadly there was no local publicity and only a very small crowd of spectators which was a shame and puts the future of the event under threat. More pictures can be seen here.

Jet Ski (9) @ KGV Dock 17-06-17

The month also saw the extremely rare event of two cruise ships from the same company passing each other on the Thames with the Silversea Cruises ships Silver Cloud and Silver Wind passing each other near the O2.

Silversea sisters @ North Greenwich 11-06-17


July was a month for Warships and Cruise Ships with several of each type of vessel paying a visit to London during the month.

The month started with a nice sunset departure of Viking Sky and her sister ship Viking Sea visited a few days later.

Viking Sky (4) @ Woolwich Reach 02-07-17

The naval visitors comprised of a mix of Royal Navy Archer Class patrol boats and visitors from NATO countries including BNS Godetia & BNS Bellis.

BNS Godetia A960 (5) @ Gallions Reach 13-07-17

The other naval visitor came in the shape of Tall Ship BAP Union of the Peruvian Navy with London being the first port of call on its inaugural visit to Europe since entering service. A report from a visit onboard can be seen here.

BAP Union (2) @ Gallions Reach 24-07-17


During the month four cargo ships visited the Tate & Lyle Sugars Thames Refinery wharf at Silvertown, three of which were bringing in raw cane sugar and the fourth taking away pallets of refined sugar products.

The first picture shows Bulk Carrier Pacific Basin heading down river after discharging her cargo.

Baltic Sea (1) @ Gallions Reach 09-08-17

The next pictures show Bulk Carrier Western Miami in the process of being unloaded at Silvertown.

Western Miami (3) @ Thames Refinery 25-08-17

Chilli Dog, the latest addition to the CPBS Marine fleet, made it’s first visit the KGV Lock to collect a container of diving support equipment in support of marine engineering works further up the Thames in London.

Chili Dog (2) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

The end of the month saw yet another naval tall ship, this time the Nve Cisne Branco from Brazil, a full report can be seen here.

NVe Cisne Branco U20 (2) @ Gallions Reach 21-08-17


The Royal Docks was again busy with various activities this month. It started with a night-time move of Light Ship 93 from it’s normal mooring location in Royal Victoria Dock up to Tower Bridge as part of a PR stunt – seen here in the KGV Lock with two Livett’s Group tugs providing assistance.

Felix + Lightship 93 (12) @ KGV 07-09-17

The other big event was the biennial Defence exhibition held at ExCel which saw a number of warships and smaller craft moored in Royal Victoria Dock – a full report with more pictures and videos can been seen here.

HMS Argyll F231 (3) @ Gallions Reach 09-09-17

Also in the Docks during the month was a mass hot air balloon event taking off from London City Airport’s runway as part of their 30th anniversary celebrations in partnership with the Lord Mayor of London’s charity appeal.

HABs (13) @ LCY 10-09-17


The month kicked off with an historic visit to London by a flotilla of three Chinese Naval vessels with two Destroyers visiting West India Dock and a Replenishment ship coming to the King George V Dock. A full report with photos and video can be seen here.

PLAN Huanggang (5) @ Gallions Reach 02-10-17
Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (9) @ KGV Lock 03-10-17

Later in the month Toploader, a multi-cat belonging to Topbond PLC, arrived in the KGV Dock to take up residence in support of the first phase of development works at London City Airport.

Toploader (8) @ KGV 12-10-17

Towards the end of the month Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate HMS Sutherland came up river to spend a few days in West India Dock to celebrate her birthday.

HMS Sutherland F81 (5) @ Gallions Reach 21-10-17


Briggs Marine sent their multi-cat Forth Fighter to spend some time on the Thames undertaking diving operation around the two Woolwich Ferry pier in preparation for the enabling works in 2018 for the arrival of the two replacement ferries.

Forth Fighter (6) @ Woolwich Reach 25-11-17

Two NATO Frigates also visited during the month although the replenishment ship that was due to join them had to stay in Bruges for some repairs but still nice to see the Portuguese and Norwegian ships.

SNMG1 Frigates (1) @ West India Dock 28-11-17

The end of the month saw floating sheerleg crane Cormorant arrive on the Thames to undertake recovery of a sunken barge from the river at Gallions Reach.

Multrasalvor 3 + Cormorant (4) @ Gallions Reach 30-11-17


Whilst the year had seen fewer visits by Luxury Yachts it was nice to see Sea Falcon II arrive on the river to spend the festive period moored in West India Dock.

Sea Falcon II (11) @ West India Dock 06-12-17

Multraship sent their tug Multratug 17 to the Thames to help take Cormorant back to the Netherlands after the salvage operation.

Multratug 17 (5) @ Gallion Reach 09-12-17

The year once again came to a close with a number of luxury motor cruisers arriving in the Royal Docks on their way to the 2018 London Boat Show.

Princess 43 (2) @ KGV Dock 20-12-17

So that concludes a look back at some of the highlights from the year, lots more pictures from these events and others can be seen here.

It will be interesting to see what 2018 will bring in terms of new visitors and familiar vessels making a visit to London. The #dlr_blog “Lookout” page will attempt to provide notice of expected arrivals and watchout for blog reports about key events and visitors so stay tuned……

A few vessel statistics for 2017 (some vessels visited more than once):

Bulk cargo ships visiting Thames Refinery – 31 (21 Import / 10 Export)

Naval vessels – 45 (includes 8 to the Royal Docks)

Cruise ships – 16

Sailing ships – 35 (including 26 for RV2017)

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Rendez-Vous review

So all but the last two sailing ships have now left the Thames after a busy Easter weekend of tall ship action on the river Thames in London, the background to the event can be found here.

Tall Ships (10) @ Woolwich 11-04-17

It is always nice to see the tall ships visiting London and quite a few new ones were seen as part of the combined  Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta / Sail Royal Greenwich event.

Tall Ships (13) @ Greenwich 16-04-17

Inevitably with such events some of the anticipated participants weren’t able to attend and there were a limited number of the larger A class vessels but that didn’t detract from the spectacle of seeing 26 vessels from 8 countries on the Thames.

Tall Ship (56) @ River Thames 13-04-17

As with previous Sail Greenwich events some of the vessels ran excursions along the Thames and there was a firework display each evening.

Tall Ship (82) @ River Thames 13-04-17

Tall Ship (43) @ River Thames 13-04-17
RDV2017 Fireworks @ Woolwich 15-04-17 (18)
RDV2017 Fireworks @ Woolwich 15-04-17 (19)

Some additional pictures of the Saturday evening’s fireworks at Woolwich can be seen here.

The event culminated in Parade of Sail from Greenwich down river with the Rendez-Vous 2017 race participants heading to Torbay and the other vessels going on to their next destinations.

Tall Ships (5) @ Greenwich 16-04-17

Tall Ships (31) @ Greenwich 16-04-17

Tall Ships (45) @ Greenwich 16-04-17

More pictures of the Parade of Sail can be seen here and the full set of pictures from the event can be seen here.

There will be several more Tall Ship visitors to London during 2017 and lets hope it isn’t too long until we see another large gathering on the Thames.

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#dlr_blog review of 2016

2016 was another varied and interesting year in the #dlr_blog area of coverage with lots of vessels coming up the Thames of all shapes and sizes and quite a few first time visitors although there was a marked reduction in the number of bulk cargo carriers visiting Silvertown.

The Royal Docks were busy although most of this was traffic generated by  building works or events taking place at the Excel exhibition centre rather than activities specifically utilising the water.

So, on with the review.


Most of the movements at the beginning of the month were connected with the annual London Boat show that takes place at the Excel exhibition centre and one of the features was the debut of the Sunseeker 131 in the shape of Zozo.Sunseeker 131 (12) @ Gallions Reach 06-01-16

Towards the end of the month three ships of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) spent the weekend in the Royal Docks, a rare but welcome visit. A full report can be seen here.NATO Frigates (2) @ RVD 30-01-16


This was a quieter month but did see the year’s first visit of a Royal Navy Archer Class patrol boat in the form of HMS Trumpeter – she and her sister vessels were to make several more visits during the year.HMS Trumpeter P294 (8) @ Gallions Reach 13-02-16

The month also saw the year’s first cargo ship to use Murphy’s wharf in Charlton on one of the occasional export runs from the middle Thames. For this trip the Celtic Mariner was in use.
Celtic Mariner (3) @ Gallions Reach 23-02-16


The biennial Oceanology International event took place at Excel and attracted a number of visiting vessels of various shapes and sizes including the RV Mintis that is owned and operated by the Klaipeda University in Lithuania. A full report on the vessels attending the event can be seen here.
Mintis (7) @ Royal Docks 12-03-16

The KGV Dock and Lock continued to be used for a variety of things from the long-term storage of unoccupied Houseboats through to the loading of marine engineering equipment onto barges, one such visit saw Thamescraft Drydocking’s multicat Devour bring in a pontoon to load up some dredging equipment.
Devour (4) @ KGV Lock 24-03-16


The middle of the month saw three ships from the German Navy’s 3rd German Minesweeping Squadron arrive on the Thames to spend a few days in West India Dock where they were open to the public – a report of a visit on-board the ships can be seen here.
German Navy Minesweepers @ Gallions Reach 15-04-16

The end of the month also saw the first cruise ship of the season arrive on the Thames for a stay alongside HMS Belfast in the shape of L’Austral.
L'Austral (5) @ Woolwich Reach 30-04-16


May was a very busy and varied month that included visiting warships, cargo ships, tugs, luxury yachts, tall ships and cruise liners.

Viking Cruises brought their 2nd new ship to Greenwich for her christening making her the largest vessel to be named on the Thames, a full report can be seen here.
Viking Sea (23) @ River Thames 05-05-16

A slightly more unusual vessel seen on the Thames and in the Royal Docks during the month was an amphibious vehicle called the Humdinga, it was in London for some demonstration runs and promotional work and is one of a range of vehicles produced by Gibbs, the manufacturer. See here for a full report.
Humdinga (20) @ Bargehouse Road 19-05-16


Two sail training ships paid a visit to West India Dock during the month with the USCG’s Eagle and the Mexican Navy’s Cuauhtemoc spending a few days in West India Dock. See here for a full report.
ARM Cuauhtemoc + USCG Eagle (1) @ West India Dock 09-06-16

There is a huge amount of engineering and development work taking place on and around the Thames in London and this is bringing in a number of visiting tugs, pontoons and workboats but is also encouraging local firms to add new vessels to their fleets.SWS Suffolk (1) @ KGV Lock 27-06-16

As part of the Thames Tideway tunnel project the month saw a visit by the tug Forth Trojan with crane barge Forth Olympian and this was assisted by S Walsh’s new pusher tug SWS Suffolk. A full report can be seen here.


This month saw the arrival of two new tugs for the Livett’s Group fleet in the shape of Christian and Felix joining a growing number of vessels operating on the Thames that feature a hydraulic lifting wheelhouse that allows them to pass under low bridges but also to see over loaded barges.
Felix + Christian (4) @ KGV Lock 04-07-16

The first outing for the new tugs was to assist with Virgin Media’s #Bethefastest promotion – details can be seen here.

The month also saw the very rare visit of a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force training ship, the JS Kashima, which was one of three Japanese ships undertaking a round-the-world training cruise.
JS Kashima TV-3508 (4) @ Gallions Reach 31-07-16


The Royal Docks was quite busy during the month with two large pontoons and huge amounts of wood being used for the 350th anniversary commemorations of the Fire of London with all the setup work taking place in the docks, a full report can be seen here.
London's Burning (12)

The new Blackfriars Pier also spent a few weeks being fitted out in the Docks and the Totally Thames festival’s ‘Floating Dreams’ installation was also constructed here.

Meanwhile, out on the Thames the everyday working vessels continued to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week carrying building materials and waste to and from London.
Charlemagne (2) @ Gallions Reach 22-08-16


London was visited by the sinister looking, and expensive, superyacht A at the start of the month. An example of the more modern type of ships that visit the Thames.
A (3) @ Gallions Reach 03-09-16

The more traditional tall ships visited Greenwich again operating pleasure trips and holding fireworks displays each of the three evenings they were in town.
Oosterschelde (1) @ Gallions Reach 17-09-16

A community art project also took place in the area with an artist building a ship out of recycled wood on the site of the former Harland & Woolf shipyard, a report of the build process can be seen here and the launch can be seen here.
Seadog (6) @ Gallions Reach 18-09-16


Tugs + Good Hotel (28) @ KGV Lock 13-10-16

This month saw lots of activity in the Royal Docks as the new floating hotel was delivered on the back of a semi-submersible transport barge that was almost as wide as the KGV Lock. Blog reports of the arrival of the hotel can be seen here and the departure of the empty transporter barge can be seen here.

The following video shows the barge leaving the Royal Docks.

The month also saw visits by two warships and two luxury yachts including a visit from Lady S.
Lady S (1) @ Gallions Reach 19-10-16


November began with a number of military vessels paying a visit to London which included two University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) Archer Class patrol vessels that took part in the Lord Mayor’s show.
HMS Smiter P272 (7) @ Gallions Reach 11-11-16

A French Navy Offshore Patrol vessel also paid a visit during the early part of the month.
FS Flamant P676 (1) @ Gallions Reach 10-11-16

Later in the month the SS Robin pontoon was temporarily moved from it’s normal berth in the Royal Docks due to filming taking place and it was returned a week later – a report can be seen here.
Maddog + SS Robin (9) @ Royal Victoria Dock 07-11-16


Arriving at the beginning of the month was the Belgian Navy’s sail training vessel Zenobe Gramme, quite a rare visitor to the Thames.

BNS Zenobe Gramme A958 (7) @ Gallions Reach 02-12-16

The year ends as it started with boats taking part in the London Boat Show which is held at the Excel exhibition centre in early January.

Princess Yachts (8) @ KGV 14-12-16

Here is a video of some of the yachts arriving in the Royal Docks.

That concludes the review of 2016, some big events to look forward to in the coming year including a large number of tall ships for the Tall Ship race in April and naval vessels for the defence exhibition in September – follow #dlr_blog for updates.

A few vessel statistics for 2016 (some vessels visited more than once):

Bulk cargo ships     22
Naval vessels           25
Cruise ships             10
Sailing ships            22

F1H2O World Championship back in the Royals Again

The final countdown has begun with less than a week to go before the start of a 3-day weekend of F1 Powerboat racing in London.

After an absence of 33 years the F1H2O U.I.M. World Championship returns to the Royal Victoria Dock in Newham, East London.

F1H2O Poster

Over the course of the event, which runs from Friday to Sunday 15th – 17th June 2018, a total of 20 drivers from 9 teams and representing 12 countries will undertake free practice, followed by Saturday qualifying and culminating in the Grand Prix on the Sunday.

In addition there will be 2 races featuring drivers taking part in the F4-S championship which acts a feeder class for new drivers alongside other demonstrations.

12-Roms_BABA (LR)

F1H20 Powerboat – Image courtesy of F1H2O U.I.M. World Championship

The F1H2O boats are single-seater, enclosed cockpit, tunnel-hull catamarans that are made out of carbon fibre composite material. The boats are 6 metres long and weigh 390kgs and each has a Mercury 2.5 litre engine generating approximately 400 HP which gives them a top speed of 220km/h (136mph).

The main viewing area for the racing is along the dockside near ExCeL London and tickets can be obtained here but there are numerous other vantage points around the Dock.

The same part of Royal Victoria Dock was also used for a different class of Powerboats to do some drag racing back in 2014 – some details can be seen here.

The following video has been produced in association with volunteers from the Heritage Newham group and sets the historical context behind this event and further videos will be produced during the event.

Update 15th June 2018

F1H2O Press Day (7w) @ RVD 13-06-18.jpg

Today is the first day of the F1H2o London race weekend with technical scrutineering and driver briefings taking place during the day followed by a free practice session later this afternoon.

The event in London is notable as being the first time that F1H2O powerboating will run a 100% carbon offset Grand Prix and they have teamed up with Treedom to plant new trees around the world to increase the amount of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere.

F1H2O Press Day (17w) @ RVD 13-06-18

President of the event promoter Idea Marketing Nicolo di San Germano introducing the carbon-offset scheme

Marking the historical connections of this event, which was last run London’s Royal Docks back in 1985, included the attendance of four-times Powerboat  champion Jonathan Jones who also won the 1985 London Grand Prix. He is still involved in the event as a TV Commentator and event ambassador.

F1H2O Press Day (28w) @ RVD 13-06-18

During the buildup to the actual Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon there have also been a number of demonstration runs taking place in the Royal Victoria Dock using a 2-seater powerboat to give invited guests the chance to experience the speed and power of these boats.

F1H2O Press Day (43) @ RVD 13-06-18

F1H2O Press Day (69) @ RVD 13-06-18

Update 17th June 2018

So Saturday was Qualifying Day for the F1H2O powerboats but we also had the first of the weekend’s two races of the F4-S class of powerboats, these are a slightly smaller boat with a less powerful engine and the F4-S class is designed as an introductory class for more junior / less experienced drivers.

The race course in the Royal Victoria Dock is the most challenging on the race callender due to the tight confines of the water space and the fact the water gets very choppy – this leads to plenty of thrills and spills.


There was plenty of close racing as the boats headed to the Canary Wharf end turn and the boats are very fast and maneuverable


.The drivers were not holding back…

DSC_0158 (2).JPG

Full throttle to try to make a pass on the outsidde

Unfortunately there were a couple of incidents in which the conditions got the better of the drivers but the safety features of the boats are well designed and the Osprey rescue crews are well practiced and very efficient – all drivers safe and well (and only small amounts of repair work needed on the boats).


Then it was time for the bigger, more powerful, F1 powerboats to take centre stage to undertake qualifying for the Sunday Grand Prix. Qualify takes place in three stages to find the fastest driver on the day.

As with any qualifying session being on track in the right place at the right time is critical and so the pit lane was a busy place to be.

DSC_0402 (2).JPG

Pit lane exit

With lots of high speed boats on a short circuit there was plenty of action to see.


This is a short video clip showing the powerboats leaving the pits and then taking part in qualifying.

Eventually after all the spray had settled it was confirmed that the pole sitter for the 2018 Powerboat Grand Prix of London would be Erik Stark driving the number 74 boat of Maverick F1 Racing – looking forward to the race now!!

DSC_0416 (2).jpg

Pole Position – Erik Stark of Maverick F1 Racing

As this is a major event for London, and one that has lots of historical connections for the Royal Docks area, alongside #dlr_blog we also have volunteers from Heritage Newham covering the event – in this video British four-times powerboat champion Jonathan Jones explains the features of an F1 Powerboat.

Update 18th June 2018

So, the waters of the Royal Victoria Dock have returned to their normal state of quiet emptiness with just the Sea Cadets doing their training courses.

However, yesterday London was privileged once again to be the host city for an international F1 motorsport event – it had been a wait of 33 years but the 2018 F1H2O Grand Prix of London didn’t disappoint.

DSC_1273 (2l)

The F4-S powerboats get craned in to the dock

The afternoon of racing started off with the second of the F4-S races, F4-S being a feeder category for less experienced drivers,

DSC_1287 (2l)

Cable Car, Cranes, Canary Wharf and Powerboat Racing in London

DSC_1366 (2l).jpg

Rounding the City Airport turn

DSC_1381 (2l).jpg

Max Stilz heading for the win

At the end of the race German driver Max Stilz racing the #46 boat for Blaze Performance emerged as the winner – making that 2 from 2 at the London event.

DSC_1401 (2l).jpg

Max Stilz

This video shows some of the action from the F4-S race.

Then it was time for the main event – the F1H2O Grand Prix of London. The London circuit was a throw-back to the early days of Powerboat Racing with a small, confined, track with constantly changing water conditions (made more exciting given it was quite windy too) – to win in London in 2018 it would take exceptional skills as a driver.

This video gives you an insight in to the sights and sounds of F1 Powerboat racing.

The race was fast and furious and there were plenty of good vantage points for ticket holders and the general public alike. Everyone was treated to the sound and smells of 16 very high powered F1 Powerboats racing around the Royal Victoria Dock are very close quarters – few other venues on the calendar offer that experience.


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After nearly an hour of racing a winner emerged – it was the pole sitter Sweden’s Erik Stark racing for Maverick F1 Racing Team. He was followed across the line by Philippe Chiappe in second and Peter Morin in third. both driving for the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team.

The winner thanks his team and celebrates the win.


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The winner reflects on the race and the top three drivers prepare for the press conference.

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Stark collects his thoughts after a challenging race

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The top 3 drivers in London prepare for the press conference

During the press conference Stark was asked what it was like to be racing at high speed so close to the concrete dock walls – his response was that he hadn’t noticed them!!

DSC_2011 (2l)

Erik Stark – 2018 F1H2O Grand Prix of London winner

Thank you to F1H2O for bringing top flight Powerboat Racing back to London and hope to see you next year.

More pictures of the buildup to the event can be seen here and for more information about F1 Powerboat Racing click on the link.


A pier appears

It is not everyday that you get to see 600 tonnes of metal being lowered into the River Thames – yesterday down at Orchard Wharf was one of those rare occasions.

Urban Space Management that operate the Trinity Buoy Wharf complex in the Docklands area of East London were responsible for achieving this feat of engineering – along with the help of a few friends!!

TBW Pier Lift (28) @ TBW 03-05-18

The item in question will become a new river pier at Trinity Buoy Wharf, initially as the new operating base for the Thames Clipper fleet (who are already based at TBW) and ultimately as passenger pier for ferry services.

TBW Pier Lift (1) @ TBW 03-05-18

Unusually the pier was constructed on site at Orchard Wharf and then needed to be lowered in to the Thames by crane – more often new piers are constructed off site and then moved up river by tug.

TBW Pier Lift (10) @ TBW 03-05-18

Weldex Crane Hire deployed one of their large crawler cranes to the site to lift the new pier in to the river where JUMBO and HAVEN SUPPORTER were on hand to ensure it didn’t float away!!

As always these operations are undertaken in stages to ensure all is in order and all the preparatory checks had been completed the lift began and the pier took to the air.

TBW Pier Lift (2) @ TBW 03-05-18

The crane then had to move forwards with the load suspended in the air to ensure the pier cleared the river bank.

TBW Pier Lift (13) @ TBW 03-05-18

TBW Pier Lift (18) @ TBW 03-05-18

Then it was slowly lowered into the water and then was secured in place (once it was made sure it wasn’t going to sink!!).

TBW Pier Lift (21) @ TBW 03-05-18

TBW Pier Lift (22) @ TBW 03-05-18

TBW Pier Lift (23) @ TBW 03-05-18

TBW Pier Lift (29) @ TBW 03-05-18

Then the tugs moved in to position to take the new pier down to the King George V Dock where the pier will be balanced before it returns to Trinity Buoy Wharf.

TBW Pier Lift (30) @ TBW 03-05-18

It was quite amusing to watch the waiting support vessels whilst the lift was underway – almost like circling sharks waiting for something to go wrong!!

TBW Pier Lift (17) @ TBW 03-05-18

This is a time-lapse video of the operation.

New Trinity Buoy Wharf Pier (HR) 03-05-18

More pictures can be seen here.

When Harry met Albert and George

No, not another version of the film but the return of ASV Harry to London’s Royal Docks – specifically the Royal Albert Dock and the King George V Docks.

Back in January 2018 the Eastern end of the docks were the focus of several weeks of dredging works by the vessel Borr to remove the buildup of silt deposits that could impede the passage of vessel through the docks.Borr (7) @ KGV Dock 17-01-18

As a result of these works a new hydrographic survey was required to update the navigation charts for the docks and the Port of London Authority have that task on behalf of the Royal Docks Management Authority.Galloper @ Gallions Reach 04-04-16

Usually the PLA would have deployed their small survey vessel Galloper for the task but on this occasion they commissioned the services of 4D Ocean to use a remotely operated vessel – the use of such “robot” vessels is something that the PLA are researching and this type of technology is likely to become part of their inventory but as yet the exact system has not been determined.

This was not the first time that ASV Harry had operated in the Royal Docks as it had visited in March 2018 to do a survey in KGV Dock and then attended the Oceanology International 2018 event held in Royal Victoria Dock.

The SeaRobotics unmanned vessel carries a sonar system and is operated using a wireless link that provides a video feed from the onboard tv camera as well as the mapping data and receives steering commands in return. The vessel can also be programmed to undertake autonomous taskings.ASV Harry (7) @ Royal Docks 10-04-18

Whilst it was doing the survey some of the local residents came to have a look but weren’t bothered by the visitor.ASV Harry (5) @ Royal Docks 10-04-18

The use of such technology brings a number of advantages including being more environmentally friendly in that the battery powered electric motors are very quiet and create no emissions which reduces the impact on neighbouring people and properties.

The vessel also produces very little wash and can operate in confined or restricted areas that might be more difficult for a conventional vessel to navigate to.ASV Harry (30) @ Royal Docks 10-04-18

A short video of Harry at work can be seen below:ASV Harry working in London's Royal Dock 10-04-18
The greater use of such technologies is coming to the waters of the Thames and PLA is working towards this outcome at some future point.

ASV Harry (40) @ Royal Docks 10-04-18

Some more pictures can be seen here.

#Oi18 – Rise of the robots

Every two years the Oceanology International trade event comes to the ExCel London Exhibition Centre in London’s Royal Docks.

Patriot (15) @ RVD 14-03-18

As the exhibition is focused on marine technology the Royal Victoria Dock in East London provides a perfect location for demonstrating various equipment and technologies.

Arca (11) @ RVD 14-03-18

Whilst the number of full scale maritime industry vessels attending the show was down by almost 50% there were still some interesting visitors along with some regular attendees.

Boats (2) @ RVD 14-03-18

Highlight for me was the attendance of ARCA, a multi-purpose vessel belonging to the Netherlands Coastguard and this was the largest vessel to attend this year’s event.

Arca (15) @ KGV Lock 12-03-18

Arca (9) @ RVD 14-03-18

Also in attendance was Thame. the latest vessel to join the Port of London Authority‘s fleet, this is a new survey vessel for the Thames.

Thame (5) @ RVD 14-03-18

However, the number of robot vessels, more correctly known variously as Autonomous Surface Vessels (ASVs) or Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs) or Remotely Operated Vessels (ROVs) [or various other descriptors!!] had increased significantly and they came in various shapes, sizes and mission profiles.

ASV Harry (4) @ RVD 14-03-18

C-Cat 3 (6) @ RVD 14-03-18

Of these iXblue’s DriX red submarine was particularly noticeable and demonstrated an impressive turn of speed as it did some laps around the Dock.

iXblue DriX (18) @ RVD 14-03-18

Another interesting robot vessel was the USV Maxlimer which is a long-endurance Unmanned Surface Vessel that can be deployed on a number of different taskings and is one of the shortlisted contenders for the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE.

USV Maxlimer (16) @ KGV Lock 12-03-18

It will be interesting to see what will turn up for the show in 2020.

Some more pictures of the vessels can be seen here.

Killer Whale in Royal Docks!!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in to the water in Royal Victoria Dock (not that you are allowed to of course!!) there have been numerous sightings of a Killer Whale, or Orca, speeding around the Dock.Seabreacher Killer Whale (4) @ Royal Victoria Dock 25-02-18

Fortunately for everyone in the area rather than some marauding aquatic mammal it is actually the latest water sports activity to make its home in the Docks.Seabreacher Killer Whale (13) @ Royal Victoria Dock 25-02-18

Operated by Predator Adventures this is the UK’s first commercially operated Seabreacher Y semi-submersible speedboat that provides the passenger with a thrilling adrenaline rush ride at up to 60 mph on the surface and 40 mph under water as well as being able to jump and roll the craft as it moves through the water.Seabreacher Killer Whale (34) @ Royal Victoria Dock 25-02-18

Seabreacher Killer Whale (50) @ Royal Victoria Dock 25-02-18
After running a number of proving trials (after a slight delay due to the Unexploded Bomb elsewhere in the Docks!) Predator Adventures are now up and running offering trips around the Dock to those brave enough to take the leap!!

Seabreacher Killer Whale (5) @ Royal Victoria Dock 25-02-18
The following video gives you an idea of what this impressive machine can do.

The team are based at the Western end of the Dock near to the Siemens Crystal building.

Predator Adventures (7) @ RVD 20-02-18

A few more photos can be seen here.


Sunday 11th February had seemingly been a quiet and routine day in North Woolwich but in the murky depths of the King George V Dock trouble was lurking.

The trouble was the discovery of a World War II unexploded bomb (UXB) in the dock just next to the terminal and apron at London City Airport (LCY).

The experts from the Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Unit were called and it then became apparent that this was the real deal and a cordon was imposed covering the airport and parts of the adjacent residential areas of Silvertown in East London.

This led to significant numbers of Police Officers being drafted in from all over London to enforce the safety cordon and to evacuate residents from the danger area.

Police (2) @ North Woolwich 12-02-18

Police (4) @ North Woolwich 12-02-18

Police (8) @ North Woolwich 12-02-18

Police (7) @ North Woolwich 12-02-18

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Meanwhile the Royal Navy team were preparing to send a diver to further examine the device as part of preparations for its eventual removal.

Police (9) @ North Woolwich 12-02-18

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As can be seen from the following picture with the Royal Navy team in the small boat to the bottom left that the bomb is right next to the aircraft parking apron although the planes have been moved away from the closest parking stands.

UXB incident @ LCY 12-02-18

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Still some way to go until the incident is finally concluded as the device has to be made safe, removed from the Dock and taken for disposal.

Flying boats in the Royal Docks

So the London Boat Show has been and gone for another year and the last of the boats are on their way back to their home locations.

This first picture shows one of the boats arriving for the show at the end of December.

Sunseeker Predator 57 MK II @ KGV Dock 20-12-17

According to the organisers there were more boats on show this year than on previous occasions but in terms of boats visiting by water the number was much reduced with only 9 arriving this way.

Sunseeker Predator 57 (2) @ RVD 19-01-18

Part of the problem is down to logistics – to get the boats from the water, then in to the exhibition hall and finally back to the water requires 2 days of work using a mobile crane and a fleet of boat transporters and a big crew of people.

Prestige 630 (3) @ RVD 19-01-18

The day for their return to water was a cold and bright day but with quite a gusty wind which occasionally made the handling of the boats a bit tricky as they were suspended in the air but all 9 boats made it safely back in to the dock.

Sunseeker Predator 57 (7) @ RVD 19-01-18

Most of the boats that had attended the show were transported by road using specialist boat transport companies but still a major undertaking as each of the large boats had to be craned in to position.

Bavaria S33 HT @ Excel 19-01-18

The following video shows one of the boats, a Princess S65 Yacht, being returned to the water.

More pictures can be seen here.

Sunseeker 76 Yacht (5) @ RVD 19-01-18