Category Archives: River Thames

Salvage in Gallions Reach

A few months ago one of the GPS Marine barges sank on its moorings at Jetty Roads in Gallions Reach off Thamesmead.

Due to the weight of the sunken barge it was beyond the lift capacity of any Thames based floating cranes and so Dutch salvage company Multraship Towage & Salvage were commissioned to undertake the recovery.

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

As a result on the 30th November Multraship’s floating sheerleg crane Cormorant arrived in Gallions Reach with the assistance of Mutrasalvor 3.

Multrasalvor 3 (5) @ Gallions Reach 30-11-17

It was then positioned over the wreck site and preparations started for the recovery which included several days work by divers.

Cormorant (3) @ Gallions Reach 30-11-17

Multrasalvor 3 + Cormorant (24) @ Gallions Reach 30-11-17

Once everything was ready the lift took place and the sunken barge was made secure before being towed to GPS Marine’s moorings at Erith.

Multrasalvor 3 + Cormorant (2) @ Gallions Reach 04-12-17

On the 9th December the tug Multratug 17 arrived on the Thames to lead the tow of Cormorant back to the Netherlands and all three vessels departed late morning.

Multratug 17 (3) @ Gallion Reach 09-12-17

Multratug 17 + Multrasalvor 3 + Cormorant (5) @ Gallions Reach 09-12-17

More pictures of the various vessels can be seen here.

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All going to PLAN

The first week of October was a special occasion when it came to naval visitors to the River Thames as it saw the arrival of three vessels from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Surface Force.

The three ships have been on a long-term deployment as part of China’s desire to promote its global influence and whilst in European waters they have conducted joint exercises with the Russian navy as well as visiting a number of European ports.

The first two vessels to arrive were a pair of Type 054A multi-role frigates in the shape of Huanggang (577) and Yangzhou (578) which are both less than 3 years old.

PLAN Huanggang (3) @ Gallions Reach 02-10-17

PLAN Yangzhou (5) @ Gallions Reach 02-10-17

This class of Frigate carries anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine missile launchers as well as a 76mm main gun and close-in weapons systems (CIWS) for self-defence – the ships are also each carrying one Harbin Z-9 SAR / ASW helicopters.

PLAN Huanggang (9) @ Gallions Reach 02-10-17

The Frigates will spend a few days in West India Dock.

PLAN Huanggang (13) @ Gallions Reach 02-10-17

The following video shows the two Frigates arriving on a very windy Thames.

Later that same day the Gaoyouhu (AOR 966), a Qiandaohu-class or Type 903A, replenishment ship arrived in London’s Royal Docks to spend a few days in the King George V dock.

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (1) @ Gallions Reach 02-10-17

As the Gaoyouhu is a large vessel it took two Svitzer tugs to help maneuver her through the Lock to her mooring in the King George V Dock.

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (12) @ KGV Lock 03-10-17

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (5) @ KGV Dock 03-10-17

This ship, which is less than two years old, carries fuel and solid stores and is equipped for Replenishment at Sea (RAS) operations and is also helicopter capable.

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (9) @ KGV Dock 03-10-17

Updated on 4th October – a trip up to West India Dock to see the two Frigates and their embarked Z-9C helicopters initially yielded another angle on the Gaoyouhu in KGV Dock.

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (3) @ KGV Dock 04-10-17

It was then over to WID to see the two Frigates that were alongside each other.

PLAN Type 054A Frigates (1) @ West India Dock 04-10-17

PLAN Type 054A Frigates (11) @ West India Dock 04-10-17

The main attraction was that both the embarked Z-9Cs were out on deck, although not best positioned to get clear photographs they are still extremely rare sightings!!

PLAN Type 054A Frigates (15) @ West India Dock 04-10-17

PLAN Harbin Z-9C (21) @ West India Dock 04-10-17

PLAN Harbin Z-9C (14) @ West India Dock 04-10-17

Update 7th October – all three Chinese Navy Warships have now left the Thames in London.

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (2) @ KGV Dock 07-10-17

Svitzer tugs Bootle and Brunel arrived at the King George V lock early afternoon and then proceeded in to the KGV Dock to tow PLAN Gaoyouhu backwards in to the lock and then out in to the Thames.

Svitzer Bootle + Svitzer Brunel (5) @ KGV Lock 07-10-17

Svitzer Bootle + Svitzer Brunel (5) @ KGV Dock 07-10-17

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (4) @ KGV Lock 07-10-17

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (5) @ Gallions Reach 07-10-17

A full video of the tow is shown below.

The two Frigates that had been in West India Dock also passed down river in turn.

PLAN Yangzhou (3) @ Gallions Reach 07-10-17

PLAN Huanggang (8) @ Gallions Reach 07-10-17

As PLAN Huanggang passed by it also provided a chance to check out some of the weapons fit.

PLAN Huanggang (5) @ Gallions Reach 07-10-17

PLAN Huanggang (6) @ Gallions Reach 07-10-17

A few more pictures 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.

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.

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.

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.

FGS Oker visits London

Making a welcome addition to the variety of naval vessels that visit London this last weekend saw a visit from a spy ship that had arrived on a dark and foggy night.

FGS Oker A53 (1) @ Gallions Reach 13-02-17

More accurately FGS Oker is a SIGINT / ELINT reconnaissance ship, one of three German Navy Oste-class fleet service ships engaged in this role.

FGS Oker A53 (7) @ Gallions Reach 13-02-17

No sinister reasons behind her visit to London as she is on a multi-port training cruise and had previously visited both Devonport and Portsmouth naval bases and after London was heading to Cork in Ireland.

FGS Oker A53 (10) @ Gallions Reach 13-02-17

It will be interesting to see what the next naval visitor will be…..