Tag Archives: Gallions Reach

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.

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…..

#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.

January

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

February

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

March

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

April

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

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

June

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.

July

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

August

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

September

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

October

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

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

December

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

Treble tug tow through KGV Lock

After all the excitement surrounding the arrival of the floating hotel it was time for the more mundane but no less interesting task of putting the toys back in their box and when this involves moving a barge that is  91.4m long and 27.4m wide through a lock that is only 30.5m wide there is not a lot of margin for error!

ZP Bear (1) @ KGV 15-10-16

The first attempt at the move saw Rederij Groen’s tug Dutch Blue (that had brought the barge over with the hotel on it) and Kotug Smit’s ZP Bear transit through the Lock and out to the barge which was moored in the KGV Dock alongside North Woolwich.

Dutch Blue (6) @ KGV 15-10-16

The following video shows the tugs leaving the lock.

However, the circumstances were not quite right for the operation to go ahead and so a 24 hour delay was put in place.

The next day ZP Bear returned and was accompanied by MST’s tug Protector.

Protector (2) @ KGV Dock 16-10-16

After turning the barge around in the dock the tugs were then ready to head in to the lock.

Tugs + Dina Launcher (14) @ KGV Dock 16-10-16

The following video shows the various stages of the move from the entry in to the lock through to the departure in to the river Thames.

Then they were safely out in to the river where, after a pause to ensure that everything was ready for a North Sea tow, the convoy headed off down the Thames at the end of a busy few days on a project that had involved 8 tugs from 5 different companies as well as PLA pilots and the RoDMA Marine Operations Team among others.

Tugs + Dina Launcher (1) @ Gallions Reach 16-10-16

More photos can be seen here.

Dmitri’s ship has sailed

In the space of less than six weeks during the summer of 2016 artist Dmitri Galitzine transformed this space at Galleons Point from this:

North Woolwich (lr) @ Gallions Point 08-07-16

to this:

DSC_8697 (2l).jpg

Working as part of the Tidal Twirlings summer of art in North Woolwich his plan was to build a ship made out of recycled materials, found and donated by local people, with their help.

The fact that Dmitri was able to deliver such an impressive vessel is testament to his hard work and dedication and also to the support and participation of the great many people that contributed time and materials to the project.

dsc_7363-2l

On Sunday 18th September it came time for Dmitri to sail away. It had always been the plan to launch the ship in the river Thames but that is not just a case of pushing the boat out in to the water and away you go as there was the safety of Dmitri and other river users to consider and with a project of this nature the first test is also the first live performance.

Also, as anyone who attended the launch will have noticed, the river Thames is a busy place with lots of other vessels out on the water plus very strong and fast tides to contend with.

As a consequence it was decided that the departure would have to be done a different way and, with the kind assistance of CPBS Marine Services, we secured the use of a boat mounted crane to lift Dmitri’s ship away from the shipyard and to sail away.

DSC_8715 (2l).jpg

Those in attendance were lucky to have such a close vantage point to witness quite a complex river based lifting operation – not something many people will have the chance to do.

DSC_8840 (2l).jpg

The fact that they also got to see several tonnes of wooden ship flying through the air was something quite impressive too.

Seadog (4) @ Gallions Reach 18-09-16

Then Dmitri went and sat on the ship he had built in North Woolwich and sailed away down the Thames.

DSC_9010 (2l).jpg

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This time-lapse video shows the preparations and launching of the ship.

To see how the ship was built check out this blog post that documents how the build progressed and for some more pictures from the launch event click here.

February 2017 update

Dmitri has now released the project video that he commissioned in support of the “A Ship (to sail away)” project.

A Ship (to Sail Away) from Dmitri Galitzine on Vimeo.

City Alpha gets a makeover

London based river sightseeing company City Cruises has a varied fleet of boats and today they have taken re-delivery of City Alpha on completion of her rebuild.

Originally a single deck boat, of the same design as City Gamma, pictured below, she was stripped down to her hull and rebuilt as a twin deck boat offering more space and better views for tourists.

City Gamma (2) @ Tower Bridge 09-04-15

After spending a few days in the KGV Lock at North Woolwich for MCA tests, final fitting out and testing of systems she has now departed to City Cruises’ river Thames base at Cherry Garden Pier and will soon become a regular sight on the river again.

City Alpha (2) @ KGV Lock 29-07-16

City Alpha (7) @ KGV Lock 29-07-16

City Alpha (4) @ Gallions Reach 01-08-16

A few more photos can be seen here.