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!
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.
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.
After turning the barge around in the dock the tugs were then ready to head in to the lock.
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.
More photos can be seen here.