Author Archives: AJBC

Where the big ships go

A business trip to Suffolk took me close to Felixstowe and it would have been rude not to call in to see some of the shipping traffic using the port complex and thus we have another #dlr_blog on tour report.

The Port of Felixstowe is the largest and busiest in the UK and is able to handle the largest container ships that ply the world’s oceans.

Port of Felixstowe (1) @ Felixstowe 15-08-17

The location at the confluence of the rivers Stour and Orwell also means that you get to see the shipping traffic using the various quays at Harwich and also the vessels coming to and from the port of Ipswich.

Here the Ro-Ro cargo vessel Severine arrives enroute to Harwich.

Severine (1) @ Felixstowe 15-08-17

In the other direction the general cargo ship Neuland is see heading outbound from Ipswich.

Neuland (1) @ Felixstowe 15-08-17

The port is primarily used by transoceanic container ships but also serves small feeder ships and Ro-Ro cargo ferries.

Severine (7) @ Felixstowe 15-08-17

The largest arrival whilst I was there came in the shape of Maersk Kowloon still showing the markings of the ship’s previous owners.

Maersk Kowloon  (4) @ Felixstowe 15-08-17

These ships are an impressive sight!

Maersk Kowloon  (3) @ Felixstowe 15-08-17

Moored alongside the quay in the final stages of loading was MSC Zoe, it departed later that evening.

MSC Zoe (1) @ Felixstowe 15-08-17

Interesting to see some much larger vessels than are normally seen within the #dlr_blog area of coverage although one recent cargo visitor to the middle Thames was noted departing from Ipswich.

Sider Maracaibo (1) @ Felixstowe 15-08-17

Some more pictures of the various ships can be seen here.

Getting Chili in the Docks

London based company CPBS Marine Services are regular visitors to the KGV Lock in London’s Royal Docks and the latest visit saw the latest addition to their fleet make its first visit.

Chili Dog (1) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

The Multicat is called Chili Dog in keeping with the canine theme of fleet boat names and boasts a large load area as well as an onboard crane that allows the vessel to support a wide variety of taskings.

ChiliDog (4) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

Another benefit is that is has a shallow draft and low wheelhouse that allows it to work the tidal Thames and adjacent waterways. More details about the vessel here.

ChiliDog (6) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

The purpose of today’s visit was to load various items of equipment to support one of the many Thames marine engineering projects. The first item was the unglamourous but essential portaloo!

Chili Dog (12) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

Then a dive equipment container provided by UMC International and a compressor – both of which were delivered on a HIAB Lorry supplied by Phill Bascombe Transport Ltd.

Lorry (2) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

Lorry (5) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

Chili Dog (16) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

Once everything had been securely placed on board Chili Dog was off up the Thames to the worksite.

Chili Dog (20) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

Chili Dog (2) @ Gallions Reach 14-08-17

More pictures can be seen here.

An encounter with George H.W. Bush

(or Navy Grey on a very rainy day!!)

Occasionally I do a blog post about things outside the normal #dlr_blog area of coverage and when the chance to go and see George H.W. Bush presents itself it would be a shame to let it pass by.

The object of interest is actually the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) which is the 10th and final Nimitz-class supercarrier built for the United States Navy and it has been spending a few days moored in Stokes Bay in the Solent off Gosport prior to taking part in some naval exercises in the waters around the UK.

CVN77 GHWB (10) @ Stokes Bay 28-07-17

She is a sizeable vessel with a displacement of  114,000 tons) and is 1092 feet longs, 252 feet wide but can still make at least 30 knots. She also carries a mixed fleet of up to 90 aircraft comprising of F18 fighter jets, E2 Hawkeye surveillance planes and H60 helicopters.

CVN77 GHWB (30) @ Stokes Bay 28-07-17

In addition to her aircraft the carrier also packs a significant defencive punch with 2 × Mk 29 RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile launchers , 2 × RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile launchers and 3 Phalanx CIWS gun mounts as well as numerous .50 caliber machine gun positions.

CVN77 GHWB (14) @ Stokes Bay 28-07-17

This is definitely one hornet’s nest that you don’t want to mess with!!

CVN77 GHWB (11) @ Stokes Bay 28-07-17

It did seem like some of the crew were somewhat bemused by the boatloads of onlookers that were braving torrential rain to come and have a close look at their vessel!

CVN77 GHWB (4) @ Stokes Bay 28-07-17

The MOD Police were out on patrol keeping a close eye on the various sightseeing and passing vessels to make sure nobody strayed into the exclusion zone.

CVN77 GHWB (21) @ Stokes Bay 28-07-17

More photos can be seen here.

It is interesting to note that the new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy are not that much smaller than USS George H.W. Bush, something to look forward to in coming years as both a potent symbol of power projection and a pretty big tourist attraction!

CVN77 GHWB (31) @ Stokes Bay 28-07-17

On board Peruvian Navy tallship BAP Union

London is fortunate enough to get a wide variety of visiting sailing ships of various shapes and sizes but towards the end of July 2017 a very special visitor arrived on the River Thames in London.

BAP Union (31) @ West India Dock 27-07-17

The Peruvian Navy’s new tall ship the BAP Union was making a six day visit to London at the start of it’s maiden visit to Europe having being commissioned as recently as January 2016.

BAP Union (33) @ West India Dock 27-07-17

The BAP Union also holds the accolade of being the largest tall ship to visit London and also the second largest currently operational sail training ship (there are other, larger, sail powered vessels but these are cruise ships).

BAP Union (13) @ West India Dock 27-07-17

The BBC were filming whilst I was on board and as part of this two crew members climbed the mast.

BAP Union (11) @ West India Dock 27-07-17

BAP Union (14) @ West India Dock 27-07-17

During her stay in London she has been open to the public as not only does the ship act as a classroom for the trainee sailors but also as a floating embassador for Peru.

BAP Union (5) @ West India Dock 27-07-17

BAP Union (27) @ West India Dock 27-07-17

After leaving London the vessel will visit a number of other European countries on what will be a 6 month voyage of training and discovery for the crew.

BAP Union (6) @ West India Dock 27-07-17

Clicking on this link will show you a video taken on board the BAP Union.

Some more pictures can be seen here.

A big thank you to all the crew for hosting the visits and for sharing their enthusiasm for their fine ship and for their visit to London.

BAP Union (25) @ West India Dock 27-07-17

Postscript: I’m not sure if High Heels and Top Hats are a part of the crew’s normal attire but a nice bit of detail to be seen on the doors to the smallest rooms on the ship!!

BAP Union (20) @ West India Dock 27-07-17

Viking longboats on the Thames

Not Vikings of the axe wielding variety but ships belonging to the Viking Ocean Cruises company which started operations in 2015.  This year London was visited by all three of the ships that make up its current fleet of ocean going cruise liners.

Viking Sea (2) @ Gallions Reach 10-07-17

Of the three ships the Viking Sky was making it’s visit visit to the Thames and as with the other ships it spent a few days moored at the Greenwich Ship Tier.

Viking Sky (3) @ Gallions Reach 30-06-17

Officially classified as “Small Cruise Ships” they are still a tight squeeze through the Thames Barrier and have to moor at Greenwich.

Carrying 930 guests they have an overall length of 745 feet, a beam of 95 feet and a draft of 21 feet and the gross tonnage being almost 48000 tonnes.

Viking Star (4) @ Gallions Reach 18-06-17

A fourth ship, the Viking Spirit, is due to enter the fleet in 2018 and hopefully will pay a visit to the Thames next summer – further ships are also planned.

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

More pictures of the ships on their various visits to the Thames can be seen here.

Flying machines in KGV Dock

The waters of the King George V Dock in North Woolwich are usually pretty quiet with only the occasional tug or boat passing through but for one afternoon a year they become an international sporting arena.

This is when the European Freestyle Jet Ski Championship arrives in Newham to host a round of the competition in the UK by setting up camp at the Tereza Joanne boat floating venue in London’s Docklands.

DSC_0198 (2)

Over the course of the 5 hour event there were qualifying and finals for each of 4 experience or power categories and a best trick category with men and women, young and not so young, competitors from across the world taking part.

DSC_9181 (2)

The event generated a range of freestyle moves and some trills and spills as looping or barrel rolling a jet ski doesn’t always quite work as planned!!

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Overall an entertaining afternoon in the sun watching the competitors going through their paces.

DSC_9785 (2)

Unfortunately the event wasn’t that well promoted and most of the spectators appeared to be family and friends of the competitors  – a real shame that RoDMA, Newham Council nor the local press appeared to promote the event and this has to raise doubts about the event returning in future years.

More pictures from the event can be seen here.

Giants in the Royal Docks

The ExCel exhibition centre sits on the dockside of Royal Victoria Dock and hosts a wide range of events and a few of these each year have a maritime theme and occasionally these events attract visiting vessels to the Royal Docks.

Siem Moxie + Atlantic Enterprise (2) @ RVD 08-06-17

One such event was the recent Offshore Wind Energy 2017 show. Whilst the event only attracted two visiting vessels that were part of the exhibition they were certainly difficult to miss and were an impressive sight both in the KGV Lock and also in Royal Victoria Dock – a shame the waters of the Royals are not graced with more visiting ships.

The two vessels in question were both examples of Offshore Support Vessels (OSVs) that help service windfarm installation projects by providing floating hotels for construction workers.

The Atlantic Enterprise was built in 1970 and has had several names and roles prior to being converted for the Offshore support role. She measures just over 82m in length with a breadth of 21m and weighs in around 6400t.

Atlantic Enterprise (7) @ Gallions Reach 05-06-17

Atlantic Enterprise (8) @ KGV Lock 08-06-17
In contrast the Siem Moxie was built in 2014 specifically for the role. She measures just over 74m in length with a breadth of 17m and weighs in around 2800t.

Siem Moxie (3) @ Gallions Reach 05-06-17

Siem Moxie (7) @ KGV Lock 08-06-17

More pictures of the two vessels can be seen here.

As is often the case with events at ExCel a couple of London based vessels also visited the Royal Docks to host corporate entertainment events for delegates. On this occasion both Moon Clipper and the Silver Sturgeon provided the transport.

Moon Clipper (2) @ KGV Dock 06-06-17

Silver Sturgeon (2) @ Gallions Reach 07-06-17

Hopefully there will be some more exhibition related vessels visiting the Royal Docks in the near future – keep posted on expected visitors here.