Author Archives: AJBC

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

INS Tarkash F50 visits London

London gets quite a few naval vessels paying a visit but today saw a rare and exotic visitor arrive in West India Dock at Canary Wharf in the shape of the Indian Navy’s Talwar-class Guided Missile Frigate the INS Tarkash, pennant number F50.

INS Tarkash F50 (2) @ West India Dock 07-05-17

The visit was organised by High Commission of India in London and this included banners, cheering supporters, TV and Press coverage with the Deputy High Commissioner H.E. Ambassador Mr. Dinesh K. Patnaik and a special guest appearance by Sachin Tendulkar .

INS Tarkash F50 (35) @ West India Dock 07-05-17

Whilst rare, one of the INS Tarkash’s sister ships visited the Royal Docks in London as part of the DSEi exhibition in 2015.

The INS Tarkash is the 5th ship of the class but is the 2nd of the Batch 2 vessels which have a different weapons and equipment fit.

INS Tarkash F50 (40) @ West India Dock 07-05-17

The ship is in the UK to undertake training exercises with the Royal Navy and is visiting London as part of a Anglo-Indian trade initiative and will be in London for 4 days.

The ship, classified as a “Stealth Frigate” was built in Russia for India and is an improved version of Krivak III-class ship.

INS Tarkash F50 (41) @ West India Dock 07-05-17

In keeping with Russian design principles she is very heavily armed with:

24 SA-N-12 ‘Grizzly’ medium range anti-air missiles
8 × VLS launched BrahMos, anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles
1 × 100mm A-190E, naval gun
2 × AK-630 CIWS
2 × twin 533mm DTA-53-11356 torpedo tubes
1 × RBU-6000 (RPK-8) anti-submarine rocket launcher

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The ship is carrying a Chetak helicopter but unfortunately the hanger remained closed and out of bounds whilst I was on board.

A video of her arriving in West India Dock can be seen below:

Update 10th May 2017

INS Tarkash has now departed London after a 4 day visit.

INS Tarkash F50 (1) @ Woolwich Reach 10-05-17

INS Tarkash F50 (3) @ Woolwich Reach 10-05-17

INS Tarkash F50 (4) @ Woolwich Reach 10-05-17

INS Tarkash F50 (6) @ Woolwich Reach 10-05-17

More pictures can be seen here.

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.

Cargo operations return to London’s Royal Docks

Whilst it might be a shadow of the glory days of the Docks the sight of a ship unloading cargo in London’s Royal Docks is something of a treat these days.

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

It also acts as a powerful reminder that the water space of the river and Docks are meant to be working assets that help London grow and develop whilst reducing the amount of vehicles on London’s roads.

Haringvliet (9) @ KGV Lock 29-03-17

So, when Hartel Shipping‘s cargo ship Haringvliet arrived overnight for a 24 hour stay to unload some cargo it provided a good reminder of what the Docks are designed to do but also reminds us that it is all too infrequently used for such a purpose – given the last such visit was nearly three years ago!

Haringvliet (3) @ KGV Lock 29-03-17

It seems that the current project involves the delivery of steel pipework as part of the Thames Tideway tunnel project on behalf of BMB JV (a Balfour Beatty, BAM Nuttall and Morgan Sindall joint venture).

Haringvliet (10) @ KGV Lock 29-03-17

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t very kind for this visit so hopefuly there will be others in better weather but even if not it was good to see life in the Docks even if just for one day….

London turns Navy

The past week has seen no less than 4 Royal Navy vessels in the capital with 3 different Archer-class patrol vessels as well as a Type 23 Frigate in the shape of HMS St Albans.

The following video shows HMS St Albans’ early morning arrival on the Thames

All four of the vessels were in London to help mark both International Women’s Day and National Apprentice Week – the 3 patrol boats each being under the command of a female captain.

HMS Exploit P167 (2) @ Gallions Reach 05-03-17

During their stay HMS Exploit, HMS Smiter & HMS Explorer spent time both alongside HMS President near Tower Bridge but also in West India Dock where HMS St Albans had been berthed.

On departure HMS St Albans had her Merlin helicopter parked on her rear deck, the helicopter having been in the hanger on arrival.

ZH861 on HMS St Albans F83 (2) @ Gallions Reach 10-03-17

It was nice to see so many RN ships in London and looking forward to the next Navy visitor to the Thames.

HMS Smiter P272 + HMS Explorer P164 (1) @ Gallions Reach 09-03-17

Some more photos can be seen here.

A walk on the air-side (@ LCY)

London City Airport is an impossible to miss feature in the landscape of the Royal Docks area of East London and in 2017 it is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary of opening at the site in the London Borough of Newham.

G-LCYU (3) @ LCY 24-02-17

Throughout this period there have been many changes and developments to the overall airport and especially the passenger terminal and there are plans for yet more developments to come. These include a further extension to the Eastern apron to accommodate the next generation of quieter, more fuel efficient, aircraft to expand the range of destinations served from the airport.

Sitting on the apron this morning was one of the two A318 “Baby Bus” aircraft used on the London – New York route.

G-EUNA (1) @ LCY 24-02-17

As part of the airport’s on going programme of community engagement (alongside the setting up of a new community Facebook page) an offer was extended to local residents to come and have a look at their new £16m western pier development.

One of the many advantages of the large picture windows in the gate area is that it provides a great place to watch the workings of the airport and to see the planes come and go – this video show a BA Cityfler E170 taxing off stand to head to the runway.

Many thanks to Aaron for arranging the visit and his time on the day for what was an enjoyable and interesting visit that provided the chance to understand how the airport operates and what it hopes to achieve for the future.

G-LCYU (2) @ LCY 24-02-17